Small woodlands in farmland have more benefits for humans per area, compared to large forests according to a new study. The small woodlands, sometimes even smaller than a football field, can easily go unnoticed in agricultural landscapes. Yet, these small forest remnants can store more carbon in the topsoil layer, are more suitable for hunting activities and host fewer ticks than large forests.

The reason why these tiny woodlands may provide us with more services is because they naturally have more edges exposed to the influence of the surrounding environment.

“For example, there is more food supply for roe deer, such as blueberries and seedlings of birch and oak, because edges receive more sunlight and nutrients from the surrounding farmlands. This in turn, is predicted to attract more roe deer that can be hunted by humans,” says Alicia Valdés.

These tiny forests can also store more carbon per area in the topsoil layer than older big woodlands, because they have an increased soil biological activity, which makes them faster at absorbing organic matter. Potentially these can act as better carbon sinks and help counterbalance the effects of global warming.

Another benefit of the tiny forests is that they represent a lower risk of contracting a tick borne disease. This is because less tick larvae can survive in the dry and hot environments characterizing woodland edges.

“This is just a prediction of all the potential benefits. How people would use these is something that needs to be looked into,” says Alicia Valdés.

Now that the authors found out that the smaller woodlands are of greater value than previously thought, they argue that more conservation efforts are needed to maintain their important role and value in agricultural landscapes.

“Preserving the large forests is important because of their higher biodiversity, but conserving smaller woodlands, especially the older ones, will help to increase human well being in agricultural landscapes. These small woodlands need specific policy instruments ensuring their future conservation,” says Alicia Valdés.

Source: https://phys.org/news/2019-12-tiny-woodlands-important-previously-thought.html


“Hi, Folks,

(Linked to this post) is an excellent article from Farm Journal, illustrating concepts of conservation. Iowa has had issues with nitrates. The article explains how nitrates were significantly reduced in water supplies through cover crops and conservation practices. Keep the water on your property.

~ Bob Woerman”

Please click on the picture to view / print the article

Check out the latest edition of Conservation Clips
brought to you by the
National Association of Conservation Districts

Conservation Clips is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides our members and partners with the latest news in what’s driving conservation. These articles are not indicative of NACD policy and are the opinions of their authors, unless otherwise noted. If you have a relevant submission or need assistance with accessing articles, please contact the NACD Communications Team.

NACD Blog: Montana Conservation Districts Appointed to Missouri River Committee
By Casey Gallagher

In 2008, under the authority of the Secretary of the Army through the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) was established to provide a collaborative forum for developing a shared vision and comprehensive plan for the ecosystem restoration of the longest river in North America.

Pipestone County STAR: Year in Review

The Congressional Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry had held a public hearing on June 25 on the conservation and economic benefits of healthy soils, and Pipestone’s Ian Cunningham was one of the five people invited to testify. His testimony on the importance of soil health came as secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).

The Baltimore Sun: EPA official’s comments stir fear, confusion over future of Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts
By Scott Dance

Environmentalists and politicians worry Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts could be weakened, if not doomed, days after the federal official overseeing that work called an agreement to reduce water pollution an “aspirational” goal and not rules to be enforced.

E&E News: Notorious ‘terminator weed’ might be a climate change savior
By Ariel Wittenberg

(Subscriber Only) Federal biologist Matt Whitbeck is hopeful about the climate outlook on Maryland’s Eastern Shore because Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has an adaptation plan to help marsh habitat migrate inland as the woodlands die, saving crucial breeding grounds for imperiled birds, including black rails.

PBS: Louisiana researchers tackle a changing Mississippi Delta
By Josh Landis

An effort to reconnect Louisiana wetlands to historical levels is taking place at Louisiana State University, where a 10,000-square-foot replica of the Mississippi Delta is now housed. Researchers are working to understand how man-made changes are impacting the Mississippi River and surrounding wetlands.

E&E News: EPA unveils plan to clean up Northeast’s Great Bay

(Subscriber Only) Federal officials announced a plan to reduce pollution in one of the largest estuaries in the Northeast.

NBC News: Could farming secure the future of America’s national parks?
By Lucy Sherriff

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio allows farmers to be stewards of the land and protect its rich cultural heritage.

Phys.org: Research will help land managers take risk-analysis approach to new wildfire reality
By Steve Lundeberg

New digital tools developed by Oregon State University will enable land managers to better adapt to the new reality of large wildfires through analytics that guide planning and suppression across jurisdictional boundaries that fires typically don’t adhere to.

Wisconsin Public Radio: Lawmakers Unveil $10M Plan To Clean Up Water In Wisconsin
By Laurel White

A bipartisan group of lawmakers rolled out more than a dozen new bills Wednesday aimed at improving and promoting water quality in Wisconsin.

Phys.org: Trees and doodlebugs emit methane – the question is, how?
By Rex Merrifield

Trees and insects may play a significant role in the emission of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—and improving our understanding of exactly how this happens could help in targeting more effective ways to fight global warming.

Associated Press: Corps trying to make more space for Missouri River runoff

Despite more than doubling releases from its reservoir system, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still doesn’t expect to eliminate all the leftover water from last year’s near record runoff that led to massive Missouri River flooding.

E&E News: Bill would encourage native plants on federal land
By Kellie Lunney

(Subscriber Only) Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) want the Interior Department to create a five-year pilot program promoting native plant species to preserve ecosystems and help reverse land and water degradation.

AgriNews: Reducing nitrogen runoff: Cover crops help solve problem
By Martha Blum

One way to control runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus is to have a growing crop on the field.

POLITICO: The $8B climate roadmap for farmers
By Ryan McCrimmon

The Center for American Progress in a new report today outlined policies that could generate additional revenue for farmers who adopt climate-friendly practices, like storing more carbon in soils, installing energy-efficient technology and protecting land from development.


January 14, 2020 — 7:00 pm
Crooks Community Center

Come and join us! We’ll be discussing continuous CRP, general CRP, and Game, Fish, and Park programs!

Watertown, SD
January 15-16,2020

The directors of the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition extend to you a personal invitation to their Soil Health Conference in Watertown, SD on January 15-16, 2020. “Learning from each other and the speakers in attendance will provide an answer to what to do on your operation or what not to do. Communicating with each other after a year like 2019 offers support and optimism, while bringing together a group of individuals to learn with each other.”

Sign up today by calling 605-280-4190 or email sdsoilhealth@gmail.com. You can also register on their website: https://www.sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/annual-meeting/


Last November, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released it’s first major program rule implementing the 2018 Farm Bill.

The interim rule implementing the 2018 Farm Bill’s various changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) will be open for public comment until Monday, January 13, 2020.

NACD encourages all conservation districts and their partners to review the interim rule and provide comments before the deadline to ensure their local voices continue to be prevalent in the implementation of CSP.

For a refresher of the changes included to CSP in the farm bill, visit NACD’s blog.

Source: The NACD eResource December 3, 2019 issue.

From the staff and board of the Minnehaha Conservation District, on the eve of a new year and new decade:

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
― D. Simone