At least 14 species of invasive plants have been identified on Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge. The unchecked spread of invasive plants threatens the biological diversity, integrity and environmental health of all national wildlife refuge habitats. In many cases, they have a competitive advantage over native plants and form dominant cover types, reducing the availability of native plants as food and cover for wildlife. Over the past several decades, government agencies, conservation organizations, and the public have become more acutely aware of the negative effects of invasive species.
Prescribed fire is utilized to achieve habitat management goals; however, instead of burning on a set periodic schedule, we burn only as habitat conditions warrant based on vegetation monitoring. Wind and salt spray can considerably delay succession in maritime habitats, and it is not known how long quality refuge shrubland habitat will persist without fire management and still provide a benefit to species of concern.
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A species listed as special concern in Massachusetts, the common tern (a gregarious small seabird that primarily feeds on American sand lance) uses the refuge to breed, yet there has been a recent decline in their numbers.