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Old 10-20-2012, 12:47 AM   #1
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chickadee Residential Land Stewardship: Impact on Biodiversity

Residential Land Stewardship:
Impact on Biodiversity

Toni Stahl
Habitat Ambassador and Habitat Host, National Wildlife Federation
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Abstract. From 2001 to 2006, the diversity of easily viewed wildlife and plants was monitored in a central-Ohio city yard as it transitioned from heavily, chemically treated lawn/garden with ornamental non-native plants (traditional) to organically treated lawn/garden with a wide-variety of native plants (habitat).

Biodiversity of insects, mammals, and birds increased exponentially in the habitat as chemicals were reduced as non-native, invasive plants removed, and as the diversity of native plants increased. A functioning, mini-ecosystem naturally formed as diverse native wildlife prey and predators were observed. The habitat demonstrated ...
http://www.backyardhabitat.info/PDF_Files/Residential%20Land%20Stewardship%20White%20Paper.p df
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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Great paper it's exciting to read a study done so close to my own home. I'm going to look into this further
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:32 AM   #3
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It's always nice to see real world examples of the beneficial effects that can be achieved by simply using more native plants and reducing the use of pesticides. Even relatively small efforts (this yard was only 50' x 100') can produce significant benefits for the local flora and fauna.

The author did a nice job of showing the results in both tables and graphs. I couldn't help but feel her/his excitement. The outcome was really impressive.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #4
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They showed an increase in unidentified mammals. Did that include "those **** squirrels", as one neighbor would complain? Or those pestiferous mice, as another neighbor would object? Of course we are pleased with this confirmation of our efforts to support biodiversity, but whether you see the outcome of this study as positive or negative depends on your value system.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:38 AM   #5
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This probably isn't the right place to share this link, but I've forgotten how to start a new thread. (I really should get out more...)

This Grist article outlines a concept that some cities are using to protect adjoining rural lands from development in exchange for making the central cities denser. I wouldn't want to live in a thirty-plus story building, but if the tradeoff is the protection of farms and forests? Building up, not selling out: Can denser cities save family farms? | Grist
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by benj1 View Post
They showed an increase in unidentified mammals. Did that include "those **** squirrels", as one neighbor would complain? Or those pestiferous mice, as another neighbor would object? Of course we are pleased with this confirmation of our efforts to support biodiversity, but whether you see the outcome of this study as positive or negative depends on your value system.
This is definitely an issue for many people. Birds and butterflies are popular; wasps, flies, mice, skunks, etc etc are not. Biodiversity means diverse, and things one does like brush piles to provide shelter for one kind of animal will also benefit others. An ecosystem needs those others to be balanced, the mice and snakes as well as the birds and butterflies, but try convincing your neighbors of that! Actually, if the mice had a place to live outdoors, maybe they wouldn't come inside so much ?! And if there was enough diversity to support an increase in predators, perhaps that squirrel population would be better controlled by the hawks, owls, snakes, coyotes, foxes and whatever else eats them.

I have seen a huge increase in diversity in my yard since I planted my native plant perennial garden starting three years ago. I didn't think to document it the way this guy did, and didn't start from lawn - I started from an artificial opening in fairly dense woods caused by our driveway where I could get understory plants to grow. It has been thrilling to watch the numbers of new creatures continue to rise.
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by recurve View Post
Great paper it's exciting to read a study done so close to my own home. I'm going to look into this further
Maybe you can visit!


...and don't forget to tell the homeowner about Wildlife Gardeners--or is she already a member?


Great find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benj1 View Post
...we are pleased with this confirmation of our efforts to support biodiversity, but whether you see the outcome of this study as positive or negative depends on your value system.
Good point, benj. Sad, but true.

Well, I'm glad to be surrounded here by those who also value and support increasing the biodiversity in our own yards.

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Originally Posted by turttle View Post
I have seen a huge increase in diversity in my yard since I planted my native plant perennial garden starting three years ago. I didn't think to document it the way this guy did, and didn't start from lawn - I started from an artificial opening in fairly dense woods caused by our driveway where I could get understory plants to grow. It has been thrilling to watch the numbers of new creatures continue to rise.
I can hear your excitement too, turttle.

Thank you for sharing your experiences here.

I'd like to create a list to document the increase in biodiversity as well as increase in the numbers of individuals of various species that visit (or make homes) in our developing habitat. Perhaps some day I can visually show before and after photos along with photos of the various species and somehow document the increase in populations.
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