On left, five-lined skink observed during an Inventory and Monitoring survey (photo by J. Mitchell).  On the right, a woodchuck takes a mid-day nap in a tree (NPS photo).

The forest and field communities of the park host many species of wildlife typically found in central Virginia. Baseline inventories have found 22 mammal species in the park (Pagels 2005), 13 reptile species and 17 amphibian species (Mitchell 2006), 37 fish species (Atkinson 2005) and 99 bird species (Bradshaw 2007). Understanding wildlife populations in the park is an important goal in promoting biodiversity. Each species of wildlife requires a unique combination of shelter and food requirements. For some species, seemingly minor changes in their local environment may drastically alter food or shelter availability. To promote diversity of habitats, park management efforts include such measures as invasive plant control, promoting native vegetation, and use of prescribed fire.

One example of habitat requirements for different species can be seen with grassland nesting birds. Observations of the eastern meadowlarks and field sparrows within the park have shown that each species is closely linked to the mixture of grasses and woody plants, the height and density of the vegetation, and the overall size of the fields. While eastern meadowlarks prefer younger fields with shorter grasses, field sparrows prefer older, shrubby fields. Simply increasing the frequency of mowing an older field could change the shelter and food available to the field sparrows, and cause them to abandon the field.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
P.O. Box 218

Appomattox, VA 24522


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