Thursday, April 22, 2010

Managed Earth

Today is Earth Day. The map below illustrates what the earth at Habitat Home is looking like. I have found it very helpful to name the areas that we are recreating here. This is not restoration work as there was nothing to restore here but corn and beans. This land had either been farmed, mowed or grazed for many years prior to our ownership. We decided to manage for types of areas that had existed in east central Illinois prior to settlement. We are recreating a tall grass prairie, a savanna, the riparian woodlands, an orchard, and a meadow. We have also created the landscape around the house.

Most of the land in Illinois has been disturbed and that is why we must manage. In well established prairies and woodlands and meadows, invasives are not able to get a foothold. But when the area is small and not established many plants can grow there and they will. I have added a new sidebar link to the Midwest Invasive Plant Network. Please check it out. The site does a much better job than I do of explaining why we should be concerned about invasive species and gives lots of information about how to manage your property.

This earth day is a good time to consider what type of earth you want, and then manage your property accordingly. Large or small acreage or yards can be used to grow native plants that in turn attract native insects, birds and mammals. And that is what makes us uniquely east central Illinois...and, of course, the corn and beans.

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