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Glossary | Habitat Options | How-to: Habitat | Fact Sheets | Partners | Conservation Information Network | Home

Glossary of Terms

Braided Channel: Usually associated with a river system; the small criss-crossing channels of water flowing through the main river channel.
Broadleaf Plants: Commonly referred to as "weeds;" plants with wide-bladed leaves.
Browse: A general term used to describe woody vegetation consumed by deer, elk, or cattle as feed; to eat the twigs and leaves of woody plants.
Brush Piles: The practice of piling woody vegetation for the benefit of nesting or escape cover or food for wildlife.
Canopy Coverage: The layer formed by the leaves, stems and/or branches of plants.
Clay Seal: The layer of soil that covers the bottom of certain wetlands; the seal holds the water in the wetland.
Clear-cut: To remove nearly all of a stand of woody vegetation in a given area in order to either create an opening for herbaceous vegetation or allow for regeneration of new woody plants.
Contract Length: The amount of time a recommended activity is required to be maintained.
Cool Season Grasses: Grasses that prefer cool and moist conditions examples include, Canada wild rye, western wheat, and green needlegrass.
County Average Costs: A system developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a maximum cost-share rate for specific activities.
Dense Nesting Cover (DNC): Vegetation used by ground nesting birds for nesting purposes; typically a mixture of cool season grasses and legumes (most commonly intermediate wheatgrass, alfalfa and yellow sweetclover).
Development Activities: Activities that focus on the creation or restoration of specific habitats, including grass seedings, wetland restoration, and thicket plantings.
DU: Ducks Unlimited Inc. DU is a private, non-profit organization that advocates for, manages, and preserves waterfowl habitat in North America.
Ecosystem: All living and nonliving things and their environment in an area of any size which are all linked to together by energy and nutrient flow.
Ecotypes: All living and nonliving things that are part of or have evolved in a specific area.
Escape Cover: Vegetation used by wildlife as a way to avoid predators or harsh weather conditions.
Evapo-transpiration: Atmospheric withdrawal of moisture from an area through the soil and plants.
Exotic Species: A foreign plant or animal, examples include, smooth brome grass, Kentucky bluegrass, and crested wheatgrass.
FSA: Farm Services Agency. An agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is responsible for various programs, including CRP and WRP.
Forbs: Various broad-leaved plants that are generally not woody; often called "flowers." Examples include prairie coneflower, hairy vetch, alfalfa, yellow sweetclover etc.
Ground Nesting Birds: Birds that prefer to nest on or near the ground, examples include the grasshopper sparrow, western meadowlark, the ring-necked-pheasant, and the wild turkey.
Hard Mast: Seeds generally originating from trees like acorns or walnuts nuts.
Herbaceous Vegetation: Non-woody plants.
High Diversity Planting: A new planting containing at least 8 native grasses, and 7 native forbs/legumes.
Hydric Soil Footprint: The area of a wetland that encompasses the wetland soils.
Hydrology: The scientific study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth's surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere.
Interspersion: Relating to a variety of successional stages found within an area.
Juxtaposition: The closeness of one habitat type to another.
Legume: Plants that bear seeds in a pod. Typically have characteristics that allow them to improve the fertility of the soil. Examples include, purple prairie clover, Illinois bundleflower, alfalfa, and yellow sweetclover.
Litter: The layer of decaying organic matter found on the ground such as leaves, grasses, and branches.
Loafing: A term used to describe a behavior of animals when they are relatively inactive.
Management Activities: Short term contracts for improving existing habitat. Examples include, prescribed burning, strip disking, rotational grazing, etc.
Micro-topography: Changes in elevation over a small area. For example in a wetland the changes will support a diversity of plants corresponding to the different water levels.
NGPC: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
NRCS: Natural Resources Conservation Service
NRD: Natural Resource District
NWTF: National Wild Turkey Federation
Native Species: Organisms that originated and evolved in a particular area, non-cultivated species.
Over-Bank Water Source: The overflow of water from a stream or river to an adjacent area, generally refers to a specific source of water for certain wetlands.
Perched Wetlands: Wetlands that depend on a clay seal to hold water.
PF: Pheasants Forever
Quick-cycle Tailwater Recovery System: Excess water from irrigation is directed into a small earthen pit or tank. A pump switched on by a float that returns the excess water to the irrigation system resulting in increased water efficiency.
Range Inventory: The act of identifying the different species of plants in a grassland.
Rhizomatous: Plants that produce specialized roots called rhizomes, which provide for vegetative reproduction; horizontal, usually underground, stems that often send out roots and shoots. Examples include big bluestem, switchgrass and cattail.
Riparian Areas: On or near the bank of water areas. The land area that is influenced by the adjacent water.
Roosting Cover: A term used to describe vegetation used as resting areas by birds.
Root Channel Drainage: The drawdown of water in a wetland from the root system of woody vegetation, (mainly trees).
Savannah: Grassland with trees scattered or clumped.
Sedges: Grass-like plants with long narrow leaves, stems are round, typically found in wet areas.
Selective Cutting: A technique used to remove specific species or areas of woody vegetation.
Seral Stage: The series of communities that follow one another in a natural succession, as in the change from a bare field to a tallgrass prairie. Any given stage in the successional process.
Snags: A standing dead tree, usually with no leaves, used as nesting or denning areas for wildlife.
Soft Mast: Fruits or berries.
Succession: The natural and progressive process of change in plant communities. The gradual and continuous replacement of one plant species by another. Generally, disturbed areas will be invaded by annual and biennial plants and will eventually "succeed" to perennial plants progressing toward the "climax" state. The climax state exhibits the highest order of perennial plants representative of the area. There are two general types of succession: primary succession, which is the process of changing inorganic material like rock into soil and on through succession to the climax stage, and secondary succession, which is the process resulting from some disturbance to an established site.
Successional Stages: The various stages of succession. The progression is from bare soil to early succession, to mid succession, to late succession to the climax community.
Shallow Water Wetlands: Average depth is typically less than 2.5 feet.
Suckering: A secondary shoot produced from the base or roots of a woody plant that gives rise to a new plant.
Thinning: A general term used to describe the removal or woody vegetation, types of thinning include selective or clear cutting.
TNC: The Nature Conservancy
Transition Payments: A payment to be used when making a change from one economic land-use to a different income-base that provides greater wildlife benefits. Transition payments will be made for five years or less. A percentage of the county average costs will be used.
USFWS: United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Warm Season Grasses: Grasses which prefer warm and dry conditions, examples include, big bluestem, little bluestem, and switchgrass.
Water Control Structure: A structure used to manipulate water levels in a wetland.
Weed Barrier Fabric (Conservation Mulch): A biodegradable synthetic fabric placed on the ground to prevent weed competition and conserve water for newly planted trees and shrubs.

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