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Author: Melissa Martin

Trail to Recovery: New Tool to Help Evaluate New England Cottontail Habitat

Posted by Melissa Martin on May 25, 2016 at 11:00 AM
The New England cottontail sits in the grass.

The New England cottontail is the region's only native rabbit. Photo courtesy of U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service.

When we at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and our partners work with landowners to restore habitat on working lands, we know it’s good for wildlife but we aren’t always sure just how good. But now we have a way to assess our success thanks to a new tool — the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), which makes it possible for us to evaluate the quality of habitat created for the rare New England cottontail rabbit. 

What happened to the habitat?
Since the 1960s, the cottontail’s range has decreased by more than 80 percent. The decline is due to a number of factors, including development, aging forests, and a lack of fire and other disturbances. This is why NRCS, the New England Cottontail Technical Group and other conservation partners are restoring cottontail habitat by modifying forests, planting shrubs and removing invasive plants. Read more >>

Tags: New Hampshire, New England cottontail, Working Lands for Wildlife

categories Landscape Initiatives