Manage Your Land
We don’t just want to protect land from development - we also want to protect it from neglect.
Disturbance is Not a Dirty Word
Most of Wisconsin’s habitats, including prairies, savannas, and oak woodlands, evolved to rely on regular changes caused by factors like frequent fires, grazing by large animals like elk and bison, and even wind storms. In conservation, we refer to these factors as “disturbance.” Disturbance helps keep Wisconsin’s habitats healthy by removing excess vegetation, recycling nutrients, and favoring some species - especially our native species - over others. Disturbance happens at different times, scales, and intensities, creating a mosaic of varied conditions across the landscape. This provides resources and habitats for a rich diversity of plants and animals.
Our Role to Play
Indigenous people utilized disturbance, particularly prescribed burning, to improve habitat for wildlife and beneficial plants. However, European settlers suppressed fire, fragmented the landscape, and hunted large grazers to local extinction. With this loss of historic disturbance, habitats began to change, becoming less diverse and more susceptible to non-native species.
Today, we understand the importance of disturbance, and the need for humans to take a leading role in managing our native habitats. By carrying out prescribed burning, removing non-native species, using rotational grazing, and more, we can support and restore the astonishing plant and animal diversity that thrived here in Wisconsin for thousands of years.
Read more about the benefits of prescribed fire, one of our most important sources of disturbance, in this article by The Nature Conservancy.
Fire is incredibly important to Wisconsin's ecosystems, and prescribed burning is a great step to take to manage your land for native plants and animals.
Resources for Land Management
DALC is part of the Southern Driftless Grasslands (SDG) partnership, which works to actively support the conservation of grasslands in Southwest Wisconsin to benefit the region’s wildlife, water, farms, and communities. SDG has extensive information on how to restore and manage prairies, oak savanna, woodlots, pastures, and more. Check out their Land Management page here.
SDG’s Conservation Partners & Program Guide also offers a thorough overview of Southwest Wisconsin’s historic ecosystems and excellent resources on pollinators, grassland birds, invasive species management, climate-smart tips, and more. The associated Directory of Conservation Partners and Programs provides an up-to-date listing of local organizations, educational resources, funding sources, and providers of technical assistance.
To request a paper copy of the Conservation Guide and Directory, or for more information about SDG, contact Cindy Becker, Southern Driftless Grasslands Project Manager, at (608) 425-0464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To transition all or parts of your yard from traditional lawn to wildlife habitat, check out “Convert Your Yard into a Pollinator Paradise,” a video and how-to guide created by our very own Conservation Director, Stephanie Judge!
Find a Contractor
Although you can get a lot done with just yourself, your friends, and your family, you may decide to call in the professionals for large or complicated projects. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources maintains a list of contractors who work in the restoration field in various regions across the state.
Note that inclusion on this list does not indicate endorsement by the DNR or DALC. Always talk with a prospective contractor about your vision and goals to find someone who will be a good fit for your project. We also recommend you get more than one quote for a given scope of work before making a decision about who to hire.
Join a DALC Event
Are you interested in seeing what an active restoration project looks like, and/or honing skills that you can use on your own land? Check out DALC’s year-round volunteer opportunities at our Ambassador Properties!
From time to time, DALC also hosts workshops and events to help landowners learn more about restoring and managing their properties. You can check out our Calendar of Events to see what’s coming up next, or sign up for our monthly e-news to be the first to hear about upcoming opportunities.