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Rare animals
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Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's natural communities, contact:
Ryan O'Connor
Natural Heritage Inventory Assistant Ecologist
608-266-7714

Cave

Need a main photo for this community

State Rank: SU     Global Rank: GNR   what are these ranks?

Definition

General natural community overview

Both naturally occurring caves as well as mines and tunnels created by human activity can be found throughout Wisconsin and are important and unique subterranean features. They often have an opening to the surface, but are characterized by little or no light. Structure, geology and hydrology are other dominant ecological influences. Caves form from the dissolution of several rock types including limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, which differ in their chemical composition and rates of erosion, and influence cave size and structure. The distinctive biodiversity and geologic formations in caves and artificial subterranean openings depend on unique and specific environmental conditions. Bats, raccoons, salamanders as well as many invertebrates, including a number of global endemic springtails, are known to inhabit these systems. Caves, mines, tunnels, and similar underground structures provide summer roosting and winter hibernating sites for significant numbers of bats.

Rare animals

Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

The following Species of Greatest Conservation Need are listed according to their level of association with the Cave natural community type, based on the findings in Wisconsin's 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.

Scores: 3 = significantly associated, 2 = moderately associated, and 1 = minimally associated.

AmphibiansScore
Pickerel FrogLithobates palustris1

Aquatic and terrestrial snailsScore
Dull GlossZonitoides limatulus1

BirdsScore
Spruce GrouseFalcipennis canadensis2

MammalsScore
Big Brown BatEptesicus fuscus3
Eastern PipistrellePerimyotis subflavus3
Little Brown BatMyotis lucifugus3
Northern Long-eared BatMyotis septentrionalis3
Silver-haired BatLasionycteris noctivagans1

ReptilesScore
Gray RatsnakePantherophis spiloides1

Please see Section 2. Approach and Methods of the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Landscapes

The following Ecological Landscapes have the best opportunities to manage for Cave, based on the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin Handbook.


Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.


Major (3 on map)
A major opportunity for sustaining the natural community in the Ecological Landscape exists, either because many significant occurrences of the natural community have been recorded in the landscape or major restoration activities are likely to be successful maintaining the community's composition, structure, and ecological function over a longer period of time.

Important (2 on map)
Although the natural community does not occur extensively or commonly in the Ecological Landscape, one to several occurrences do occur and are important in sustaining the community in the state. In some cases, important opportunities may exist because the natural community may be restricted to just one or a few Ecological Landscapes within the state and there may be a lack of opportunities elsewhere.

Present (1 on map)
The natural community occurs in the Ecological Landscape, but better management opportunities appear to exist in other parts of the state.

Threats/Actions

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

What are conservation actions?

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for natural communities

Photos

There are no photos available for Cave at this time. Please consider donating a photo to the Natural Heritage Conservation Program.

Last revised: Monday, November 14, 2016