This page contains resources on the use of habitat modification to mitigate wildlife damage problems.
Habitat Modification Defined
Cultural Control includes practices that modify the habitat or change access for the offending animals while not physically or chemically preventing their access to the property or physically harming the animal.
For example, cleaning up fallen bird seed would be an example of habitat modification because your effort is reducing food availability to non-target animals while not physically excluding them from the area. Rabbits love to eat tulips, but don’t seem to like daffodils. Replacing tulip bulbs with daffodil bulbs would still provide spring flowers, just not the kind that rabbits would nip off. Removing brush piles is another practice that will decrease the potential for rabbit damage, as you are removing shelter.
Limits of Habitat Modification
1. These are rarely a quick fix because the offending animals don’t just disappear. However, over the long term, these practices are exceptionally cost-effective in mitigating damage.
2. This requires landowners to change their behavior. You may be forced to make unwanted decisions such as removing a beloved tree or changing the timing of your activity.
3. Habitat modification rarely resolves an animal damage problem completely. The key word here is mitigate, as in reduce rather than eliminate. We hope, however, that you will find this information helpful in making more informed and responsible wildlife damage management decisions.
Informational Resources for Habitat Modification
Most University and Government animal damage control publications will include habitat modification as a section within the entire publication. It may be considered a cultural control method.
If you have a specific species in mind that you wish to control, visit Species