Wild research and planting trees in the south of The Netherlands
At the beginning of 2021, we started a study to gain insight into the population size of badgers and foxes, in the south of the Netherlands. The exact numbers of our observations of badgers and foxes are counted, and recorded in a database. During this study, we have also observed martens, wild boar, and deer, appearing in large numbers, in front of our game cameras. This study has also been able to provide us with very good insight into the current state of the forest. For example, it is noticeable that certain parts of the forest are completely overgrown by blackberry bushes, which indicates an excess of nitrogen. We have also noticed that certain parts of the forest are cut off from each other by a busy road. We feel that adding a wildlife tunnel to this area, would allow better connections between habitats, while also significantly reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions.
Fun Facts: Foxes eyes are blue for the first month after their birth, and then they turn brown. A fox can reach a speed of 60 kilometers. A fox can also produce 28 different sounds.
In order to be able to preserve a nice variety of animal species, it is important that wildlife habitat is large enough. If not, competition between animals will intensify, and fewer young will be born due to lack of food. As a result, certain populations are shrinking, or even disappearing. Several dry and hot summers, have also taken a toll on forests, therefore planting trees, could really give nature a boost, while also giving people a helping hand. Planting trees helps to keep existing forest areas diverse and healthy, creating an entirely new ecosystem, with an increase in animals, from small to large (ex. insects, hedgehogs, and squirrels). Birds, such as the house sparrow, whose population has shown a declining trend in recent years, also benefit from this. The larger the habitat, the smaller the chance of human-animal conflicts, just think of foxes eating chickens, or pigs destroying fields.
Fun Facts: The results of a scientific study show that the presence of greenery reduces stress, increases well-being, and can even have a restorative effect. Trees also combat erosion with their roots, provide cooling, and assist humans in the fight against global warming, by extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, during photosynthesis, and releasing oxygen (O2).
In preparation for and during our research, we spoke with ecologists, Bosgroep Zuid-Nederland, Nature and Environment Federation, Staatsbosbeheer, foundation Das en Boom, IVN (Institute for Nature Education and Sustainability), IKL (Foundation for Conservation of Small Landscape Elements), various wildlife management units, and local and provincial governments.