Inventories are Critical
Members of the Kansas Biological Survey
assist MSgt Kurt Keeler, range natural resources
officer, in conducting a botanical
survey of the Smoky Hill Air National Guard
Range, Kansas. Careful biological surveys
are the first step in establishing a successful
endangered species management program.
(Photo: Douglas Ripley)
A baseline species inventory is essential for the protection of listed species. Inventories
form the foundation of any natural resources program, since such resources
cannot be managed without clear knowledge of what and where they are.
Sources of resources for developing baseline inventories are varied and numerous.
Some examples include:
Baseline inventories should be viewed as starting points, not ends unto themselves.
Rare species or those that are secretive by their nature are less likely to be
detected in a one-time inventory, so continued inventory and monitoring should
be a cornerstone of any natural resources program. As an example, at Arnold Air
Force Base (AAFB) extensive surveys were conducted for reptiles and amphibians
as a part of the baseline inventory. However, one species, the barking tree frog
(Hyla gratiosa), which is a state listed species in Tennessee, wasn't detected until
two years after the baseline inventory. Researchers heard the frog calling from an
isolated wetland while conducting monitoring for other species whip-poor-wills
and chuck-will's-widow. Similarly, the secretive scarlet snake was not detected
until six years after the initial inventory.
Highly mobile species, such as migratory birds, must also be considered, as
they might not have been present during the baseline inventory. At AAFB, the management
regime for grasslands was changed from annual mowing to prescribed
burning for the then threatened Eggert's sunflower. Following this change,
Henslow's sparrow was detected breeding for the first time. The bird community
at these sites was well documented prior to the management change as part of a
Partners in Flight monitoring program, so it is highly unlikely that this species
was there previously.2
Proceed to Next Section: The Five-S Framework