Wood turtle ecology and management strategies in a landscape under active agriculture

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University of New Brunswick


I investigated the habitat selection of wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) in a landscape within active agriculture and assessed the risk of agricultural practices. I tracked 23 wood turtles and recorded their habitat use versus availability on a 3rd and 4th order scale. I found that wood turtles preferred fields over the forest and that hay fields are likely an attractant to wood turtles due to high food availability and low canopy cover. Wood turtles used the hayfields during the hay harvest season, and stayed close to field edges. I monitored the movement response of wood turtles as they were approached by agricultural machinery and found that most turtles could not successfully escape the mower. My study shows that agriculture poses a high risk to wood turtles in an agricultural landscape and management strategies are necessary to prevent populations from extirpation.