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Buech, R.R., and M.D. Nelson. 1991. How to create wood turtle nesting areas. Final report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 6 pp.


The wood turtle is distributed in the United States from the Midwest to the Northeast, but it is not abundant. Many states in the Midwest are concerned about a seeming scarcity of wood turtles, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, which list the wood turtle as "threatened". In Minnesota, wood turtles have been found mostly in the northeast and southeast. Only a few scattered records of wood turtles exist elsewhere in Minnesota. Although there is some uncertainty about their habitat requirements, our working hypothesis is that the availability of predator resistant nesting areas currently limits wood turtle populations in Minnesota. This document describes the natural history of wood turtles, summarizes their habitat requirements, describes elements of suitable wood turtle nesting area, and offers preliminary suggestions on how to create and manage wood turtle nesting areas. The intent in offering these recommendations is to stimulate an interest in establishing pilot projects so that we can evaluate both the efficacy of the guidelines and the validity of our working hypothesis.

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