Document Type


Date of Original Version



Natural Resources Science


The objective of this analysis was to prioritize forest owners in Rhode Island for outreach programs related to creating habitat for New England Cottontail (NEC). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides generous funding to landowners to create wildlife habitat through ongoing programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). However, few landowners in Rhode Island are able or willing to create large enough habitat patches to meet the 25 acre patch size needed by NEC. Therefore, an alternative approach is to identify areas where smaller clearcuts could add to existing patches of shrubland to create 25 acre patches. We generated nine maps based on different assumptions. Map 3 (which can identifies 461 high priority polygons in Rhode Island which include patches of upland forest where a clearcut of 3 acres could result in a NEC habitat patch of at least 25 acres in conjunction with existing patches of shrubland, assuming that patches of existing shrubland less than 50 m apart can be considered to be the same patch. Some of the 3 acre clearcut must be inside these polygons but can extend into the surrounding upland forest. Map 9 identifies 60 parcels belonging to existing NRCS clients who could create 3 acre clearcuts on their properties that would result in 25 acre patches in conjunction with existing patches of shrubland. Map 10 further prioritizes the polygons in Map 9 by excluding xeric sites that are likely to have poor or delayed regeneration of shrubby habitat following a clearcut. The maps based on property boundaries are not included in this report for privacy reasons, but are available for use by NRCS staff and authorized affiliates.