Rural System's

Species-Specific Management

Suggestions for Managing Individual Species or Species Groups
[ HOME | SSM Home | Birds | Mammals | Reptiles | Plants | The Finder | Glossary ]

Index and Introduction

Species-Specific Management is a small system of RRX for providing information and advice for managing wild animals and plants. Rather than describing community or system level work with wild creatures, it presumes that the landowner or some person has a species of great interest and wants to keep it at present levels of abundance or to change that abundance. Often wildlife management is seen as a way to get more animals (as in game management) but it also includes stabilizing populations as well as decreasing them (such as when they become pests or do damage).

Herein, each species is treated as a system. There have to be objectives, the more precise the better. Information is needed. We have attempted to reduce these to the bare minimum, the need-to-know versus the nice-to-know facts and figures. Field guides are available. Processes are fairly straight-forward but explained in some cases. Feedback is simplified here and usually means watching the population or its effects to see if the actions taken do what you want them to do. If they do not, then change the tactics, the objectives, seek more information, or evaluate the monitoring procedure itself. Feedforward means to keep an eye on the future and take actions now (or not) to respond to the likely change. For example, don't build a pond for animals if a nearby golf course will build one within a year.

The Species-Specific Management prescriptions are units developed by Robert H. Giles, Jr. and his students over many years at Virginia Tech. A few were released as a 5.25-inch floppy disk called Fauna01. Students did library searches for information, usually aided by files of Prof. Giles. In some years they were assigned only to update, edit, and expand on the work of former students. Prof. Giles edited all units and he prepared some. The assignments were to pull into a few pages the materials necessary for action ... no explanation, literature, theory, etc. just the best current thought about what to do to achieve desired population levels. Another objective of the assignments was to demonstrate a system and how individuals can contribute when a design is available and when there may be feedback. Another was to suggest an alternative to the wasted human potentials from high quality work of superior students in "projects" that go nowhere past the last class period.

In 2001 Giles revised and re-edited many of the units herein, added others, and submitted all relevant files to the US Forest Service for use within their (developing) Encyclopedia on the Forests of the Southern Appalachians. The contents of the files for animals (with some linkages) is now available. We are pleased that many of the species management units have been further edited and added to the Southern Appalachian Hypertext Encyclopedia that concentrates on the ecology and management of the forest.

A link to the National Biological Information Infrastructure provides the source of most national biological information.

See the NBI portal for biological information

A link to Fishbase was established on January 31, 2000. Nbii was closed in 2012.

A link to the U.S. Man and Biosphere (MAB) data base is available (March, 2000)

A link to the International Biodiversity Observation Year (IBOY) 2001-2002 is available. IBOY uses MAB's BRIM (site listed above) which is said to be the world's largest publically accessible database of vascular flora and vertebrate fauna species inventories of protected areas (637 sites in 86 countries)

There is a good source for information on amphibians but also see the local links at the bottom of the file on box turtles.

Google reptile data base

"A Global Information System on Fishes" provides massive amounts of information about fish. The heart of the site is two databases, FishBase and LarvalBase, the first containing information on over 23,000 species (91,000 common names), 41,000 synonyms, 18,000 pictures, and 17,000 references; the latter featuring 400 species, 500 pictures, and 700 references. Both databases can be keyword searched or browsed by common name or scientific name. Entries include family, order, class, English name, distribution, biology, environment, climate zone, and additional information. Entries also offer a number of links for more species-specific data such as synonyms, countries, key facts, pictures, FAO areas, spawning, reproduction, predators, diet composition, and more. The search page for each database features a searchable glossary and reference database, and information by topic. In addition, the main FishBase page offers downloads, a Fish Forum, a biodiversity quiz, and a link to the expanded LarvalBase at the University of Kiel.

Information on California wildlife and thus many western US species is available as text notes.

Bibliographies of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center are now available.

Rarely mentioned in any of the species-specific texts provided herein is that all management of the wildlife resource incurs costs of space (foregone profit from alternative land use), staff and expert time, equipment and office rental space, and equipment with depreciation. Rarely are maintenance, updating, and breakage costs included in cost estimates or analyses. Rarely are costs allocated over time or projects depreciated. Costs are not included herein but they should be. The scale, situation, available funds, and many other factors make even gross estimates difficult, probably impossible, to make.

Species Specific Management is a perversion of wildlife resource management as it should exist. By analogy, it is presented as if all of medicine can be put into a first-aid booklet. A few species (about 80) are included out of more than 1,000 in Virginia; many more are needed for the world, where the needs for such prescriptions are greater than in the US. Not community or species-guild management, not even species-specific management, but life-group management should be pursued. Users should use the information here with care and should contact a superior modern wildlife manager to address total cost, to avoid harmful secondary effects of management, to gain synergistic effects of management, to practice life-group and multi-species management, and to move to total land system management, rapidly, for the future. Such total land management systems seem must likely when an enterprise paradigm is used.

Advice for improving the units is welcomed. Students and others may wish to contribute new units. The approximate date of last up-date or revision is included with most units. Contributors are acknowledged if they desire to be.

Relevant links are made to reptiles and amphibians and other flora and fauna.

Click on the desired category.

General Faunal Management Concepts: Arches Over the Specifics



Reptiles (single entry - box turtle and a corn snake group link)

Plants (single entry - honeysuckle; more being planned)

The Future of Cetaceans in a Changing World

Click on a title to see information amounting to several pages of information about a species (or in some cases a group such as "songbirds" or "warblers" for people who may not desire to select a species).

Important Disclaimer - The content displayed is designed to be educational. Under no circumstance should it replace the expert care and advice of a qualified wildlife manager. Rapid advances in wildland sciences and research may cause information contained here to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Writers, editors, and administrators of these files on plant and animal species assume no responsibility for how information that is presented here is used by the public.

There are hundreds of related list-serve sources that may yield the information that you need.

See the first efforts to start NatureSeen, an Internet resource of field observations.

See species information at

Other Resources:
[ HOME | Lasting Forests (Introductions) | Units of Lasting Forests | Ranging | Guidance | Forests | Gamma Theory | Wildlife Law Enforcement Systems | Antler Points | Species-Specific Management (SSM) | Wilderness and Ancient Forests | Appendices | Ideas for Development | Disclaimer]
Quick Access to the Contents of

This Web site is maintained by R. H. Giles, Jr.
Last revision January, 2006; March, 2011