Habitat Loss and Degradation
Biodiversity is in trouble globally, The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity concluded that: “Every day, up to 150 species are lost.” Many people believe that issues like species and habitat loss are issues that are happening somewhere else, like the rainforests, which is true, but it's also happening in our own neighborhoods and cities. When a new housing development goes up, we don't always think about the ecological toll. Development new and old has caused habitat fragmentation and disruption to the natural ecosystem. Trees, shrubs and understory plants are replaced by fill dirt and grass, concrete and a few ornamental trees, bushes and exotic annuals. Our roads and lawns also contribute to run off and pollution to our waterways. The thing is, people have to live somewhere, right! So how to we combat species loss and help the climate? The choices we make in how we landscape can make a big difference!
Ditch the Lawn
If Earth day has got you inspired to plant some trees or garden, I would like to propose incorporating Native plants and tree species into your home landscape. Did you know that our obsession with perfectly manicured lawns has created a 40 million acre monoculture?! Over the last century, the continental U.S. lost a staggering 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl! Planting Native species is one of the best ways to create habitat for wildlife, birds and pollinators. Insects co-evolved with native plants, without them there are less insects, without which birds and many other creatures cannot survive. We also rely on and array of native insects, not just European honeybees to pollinate many fruits and vegetables, so more native plants means a more stable food system. Lawns and ornamental landscaping plants require more chemical fertilizers, pesticides and lots more water to maintain. Whereas native plants are often more disease, pest and drought resistant. Natives also don't require mowing or much maintenance once established. Saving you time and money and cutting back on use of fossil fuels. Planting trees are not only benefit wildlife, but the shade they create can cut back on energy costs in the summer and make outdoor time more pleasant, trees in case you hadn't heard are also great at capturing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Still want some grass to walk around on? There is an amazing array of native grasses available that have deep root systems, capable of storing massive amounts of carbon. Did you know that one acre of native prairie grasses and wildflowers can store 1 ton of carbon in roots/soil per year?
Anthill Farm Agroforestry is committed not only preserving farmland but converting depleted farm fields into healthy, thriving ecosystems. By creating biodiverse stripes of native plants, trees and shrubs in fields, we allow for habitat creation, while allowing for agriculture to still occur in the alleyways or spaces between permaculture rows. Our Biodiversity plantings are designed like agroforestry plantings allowing for crops or livestock to be raised in between rows of trees of shrubs. At our farm we grow fruit trees and bushes but we incorporate natives into the ground cover around the trees, creating vibrant pollinator habitat throughout our farm. We also have planted native species in hedgerows around our farm to help block wind( much needed when you farm on top of a hill) and to create natural borders and habitat. We are working with non-profits, businesses and landowners to create beautiful and sustainable plantings on their property. We are also growing native plants, shrubs and trees for sale, so if you want to incorporate natives into your yard or garden on a smaller scale we can help! Stay tuned for Native Plant Sale details in the coming months. If you're curious what native plants grow in your area check out this link below.
The current environmental crisis can feel overwhelming and but often the best way to deal with those feelings of powerlessness is to take action, even if it's a small one! There are so many ways to help! Plant a tree. Take a hike. Start some seeds for a garden. Clean up litter on beaches or roadsides. Sign up for a local CSA. Get involved with a local Audubon or environmental or conservation organization. SEEDS is a great one locally!
Happy Earth Day!!
Also this Sunday we'll be here!! Come find us an enjoy the local goodies!!