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Wood Turtles

Location:

Michigan

Wood turtles are currently being evaluated for listing under the Endangered Species Act. This project is conducting much-needed research on the relationship between wood turtles and sustainable forest management in Michigan.

Government agencies and private working forest owners have joined together to:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the relationship between wood turtles and sustainable forest management practices.
  2. Inform strategies for mitigating or removing threats to wood turtle populations.
  3. Integrate wood turtle conservation with forest management activities.

Preliminary Observations from the Field

Female wood turtles display high site fidelity. In other words, they visit the same nesting sites, brumation sites (for the turtle version of hibernation), and patches of forests year after year.

Female wood turtles will travel nearly ¼ mile away from the river during summer months, and will travel 4.5 miles along waterways to reach nesting and brumation areas.

Wood turtles use features created by forest management practices, such as slash piles, utility easements, gravel pits, and decommissioned logging roads. Managed forests provide the foraging and thermoregulatory (heating and cooling) environments wood turtles need.

Conservation Success Starts with Keeping Forests Intact

We all have a hand in ensuring conservation of wildlife. When we purchase wood and forest products, we support the sustainable cycle of growing, harvesting and replanting that keeps our forests as forests. Thousands of species call working forests home, and many species thrive in actively managed working forests.