Small Tweaks, Big Results

Farmers.

Conservationists.

We have preconceived notions of each camp here in Alberta—and we might think the two schools of thought don’t mix. Challenges come from trying to balance human agricultural needs with wildlife habitat needs.

Enter Enchant. Quite literally: if you step onto this 1,460-acre working farm, you’ll find both philosophies successfully overlapping. The goal? Maintain a profitable farm while improving wildlife habitat.

“There’s so much happening on the farm,” says Doug Manzer, project manager. “But in general, we’ve been working to optimize places where there can be improved habitat, with a benign effect on the crops.”

We are initiating approaches that increase upland game birds populations, while monitoring overall species biodiversity. By enhancing habitat strips along crop edges with leafy cover and forbs, the farm creates critical protection and higher concentrations of insects for food. It’s working—there were no pheasants when the project started, and since reintroduction, the population is up tenfold.

The innovative attitudes at Enchant Farm allow us to trial techniques that measure the cost and benefits for both wildlife and farming yield. The balance between conservation and profitable farming can tread a fine line—the small things really do add up. Finding this balance takes effort, but the time and work is worth it.

 
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