MWC Eco-brief: Ornate Box Turtle Conservation
In the Upper Midwest, the ornate box turtle inhabits open sand prairies. Their habitat is disappearing due to land development as well as a lack of active habitat management. Without fire, woody plants encroach on sand prairies that eventually become thickets. This degrades the turtles habitat and increases depredation of turtles and their nests. On conservation lands, pine trees are commonly planted in sandy areas to create thermal winter roosting cover for the non-native ring-necked pheasant. Many conservation land managers are not aware they're doing so at the expense of turtle habitat. Currently, the ornate box turtle is listed as imperiled or critically imperiled in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and North Dakota. Share this info far and wide so we can save this species for future generations!