FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does Habitat Restoration improve our world and the world around us?
- Once established, meadows and woodlands require little irrigation and no fertilizer or pesticides. As a result, there is less water use and water pollution.
- Conserving and restoring habitat is critical to sustaining biodiversity.
- Invasive species provide a significant threat to natural areas by out competing native species. A goal of habitat restoration is to manage the proliferation of invasive species and to restore native plant communities.
- The disposal of yard waste is reduced because the standing dead stalks of wildflowers and grasses provide cover for wildlife throughout the winter.
- In woodlands, downed branches and twigs provide essential nutrients to the soil. Improved soil creates conditions for a healthy plant community.
- Less lawn means less mowing which translates to less air pollution being emitted from lawn and garden equipment. A lawn mower emits as much hydrocarbon in one hour as a typical auto driven fifty miles.
What is a regionally native plant and why is it important to plant them?
A widely accepted definition of a regionally native plant is that which was growing in a particular region prior to European settlement. When choosing native plants, it is critical to understand what region of the United States they are native to and to define “native” for the project. For example when restoring habitat, the plant palette may be confined to the project location. In a garden or naturalistic landscape, the boundaries may be extended to include those plants native to the physiographic province of the project such as the Piedmont Plateau within the Eastern United States.
Planting regionally native plants is important because for tens of thousands of years they have co-evolved with insects and wildlife. There are complex and symbiotic relationships between them. In brief, native plants are the food sources for an array of insects, who in turn are the food source for birds and mammals and on up the food chain. As a landscape loses its diversity of native plants, there are similar repercussions throughout the food chain.
What is a native plant community?
Plants, like people, live in communities. These communities are composed of plants that have similar cultural and reproductive requirements such as soils, light, temperature, pollinators etc. When choosing native plants; it is prudent to first understand the site conditions, then to identify the plant community that best fits the site conditions.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity or species diversity is important because a healthy and resilient community of plants, insects, wildlife and humans is predicated on complexity, interconnections and redundancy. There must be a diversity of life forms that provide multiple functions. Some of those functions will be redundant so that if one species is lost there will be another to fulfill its function. There will also be precise and specialized relationships such as that which exists between plants and pollinators. An analogy is that biodiversity is the web of life. When one strand of the web is lost, it threatens the entire system. The more complexity of interconnections, the more resilient the system will be. Humans are part of this complex web of life. The health and well being of plants, insects and wildlife is directly correlated to the survival of the human race.
Why is it important to plant trees?
Imagine something that provides life sustaining oxygen, clean air and water, healthy streams and soil, a stable climate, cool refreshing shade, food for many forms of life and beauty, because beauty matters. You have imagined a tree. In short, planting trees is one thing a person can do to restore health to land, water and humans alike. So with all these benefits the question really is why not plant them?