Living Green with Native Plants
In recent years, a buzz has been building around the concept of “living green.” Much of this is undoubtedly due to an increasing awareness of the impact our daily lives have on the environment. At PRI we sincerely hope this is more than a trend and that it is a permanent shift that will bring about positive results for our environment and our culture as a whole.
In the simplest sense, “living green” can be considered a lifestyle choice, where the focus is to not harm but instead nurture the environment through our everyday actions. There are many examples of lifestyle choices that can reduce our negative impact. Using less fertilizer and water on our conventional lawns, and in turn mowing less, reduces our use of fossil fuels and water resources. Choosing compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of conventional bulbs cuts down our consumption of electricity. Choosing to eat organically grown food reduces the use of pesticides and herbicides.
Ecological restoration can have an even deeper positive impact on the environment than some of these basic lifestyle choices. Recreating native habitats as part of your landscape can mean consuming less, but it actually goes far beyond that. It is a way we can nurture the environment.
Native restorations actually give back much of what has been taken by us. The diverse plant community that is created by restoration helps increase the diversity of other native species. They encourage the return of native birds, beneficial insects and even critical microorganisms in the soil. The science of ecology tells us that highly diverse systems are stronger, more self-sustaining, and require less outside inputs than systems that are not diverse (i.e. turf grass). Restorations even have the capacity to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere deeply within the soil. This can offset a portion of the carbon dioxide that we produce in our day-to-day activities. Using native landscapes in critical areas can also reduce erosion and capture nutrients that would otherwise end up reducing the water quality of our lakes and streams. Shoreline buffers, wetland restorations and even rain gardens can make a huge impact on water quality.
What does the future hold? It really is up to us. We can make a real, lasting difference by incorporating native landscapes into our overall plan of “living green.” Native plant community restoration is not simply a trend. It is a movement in the right direction.
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Restoring the Earth
for 40 years
Prairie Restorations Inc.
31646 128th Street,
Princeton, MN 55371