Southwest Mississippi Tributaries Study Area environmental inventory : wildlife resources
Mitchell, Wilma A.; Martin, Chester O.
Abstract: This report synthesizes existing information on wildlife resources of the Southwest Mississippi Tributaries Basin, which lies mostly within the lower portion of the Loess Bluffs region and encompasses an area of 2,023,982 acres. The study provides information on physiographic features, soils, land uses and cover types, forest communities, wildlife management areas, game and fur harvests, nongame species, and threatened and endangered species. Forestry and agriculture are the primary land uses of the basin. Almost 73 percent of the area is forested, and 20 percent is in cropland and pasture. Forestlands consist of 33 percent loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and shortleaf pine (P. echinata), 26 percent oak-hickory (Quercus-Carya spp.), and 41 percent mixed pine and hardwood. The Homochitto National Forest comprises 9 percent of the basin and is covered predominantly by loblolly pine. Three wildlife management areas, totaling 57,700 acres, are open to public hunting, and approximately 500 hunting clubs operate within the basin. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and wild turkey (Meleagrie gallopavo) are the major game species hunted on both public and private lands. The Southest Basin produces about 20 percent of the annual statewide deer harvest and from 19 to 25 percent of the annual statewide turkey harvest. Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis and S. niger) are the primary small game mammals, and the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is the most heavily harvested upland game bird. Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and wood ducks (Aix sponsa) are the chief waterfowl taken. Twelve species of furbearers are harvested in Southwest Mississippi, with raccoon (Procyon lotor) and opossum (Didelphis virginiana) accounting for the largest harvests. Most species exhibit seasonal peaks in harvest, but a general decline in total harvest has occurred since the 1979-1980 trapping season. The data indicate that the furbearer resource is available but is not being fully utilized. Approximately330 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians occur in Southwest Mississippi, but limited information is available on the non-game fauna of the study area. Federally endangered species known to occur in the basin are the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis). The Homochitto National Forest has one of the few large populations of red-cockaded woodpeckers in Mississippi; more than 60 active colonies are located in the forest. The black.bear (Ursus americanus), endangered in Mississippi, is found primarily in this region of the state.
Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Natural areas--Mississippi; Wildlife management--Mississippi; Land use--Mississippi; Ecology--Research; Environmental study areas