Be a Citizen Scientist in Your Wildlife Garden

This was originally published on Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

So you’re a successful wildlife gardener, how about becoming an amateur citizen scientist too? Today, there are so many resources and books available for everyone you don’t have to have a science degree to be an amateur scientist.

Becoming an ecologist of your yard, your habitat will help you understand better and as a result, provide the best habitat possible for your specific yard. Perhaps just as important or even more so, you will gain knowledge and data that can be useful to others such as neighbors, the city or conservation organizations.

The Problem

The human inhabited environment has been sorely ignored by ecologists. A recent study found that out of a sample of over 8,000 scientific papers published in top ecological journals over the previous 5 years, only 3% were focused on urban areas and an even smaller amount (1%) focused on suburban…

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A Propagation Primer

This post was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Propagation has been on my mind lately. We recently moved into a house with a very bare yard and although I brought all of my plants from our apartment balcony, they hardly make a dent in the yard. I recently visited the local native plant sale and despite spending a hundred dollars, the plants are also not going to make much of an impact. I recently wrote about methods for collecting native plants, which is a great way to acquire hard to find plants, but propagating from your own collection (or friends, family and neighbors) is another easy way to get yourself some more plants.

As my thoughts turned to propagation in my yard, I pulled out my old general propagation books and bought a new one and found some good resources online. While many plants are…

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The Landscape as Time

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

When I was studying Landscape Architecture at university, I had a professor who was infamous for several sayings. One of the most prolific of his sayings, which any student could nearly be guaranteed to hear during a design review, was ‘the landscape as time’, or more briefly, ‘landscape time’. He spent four years drilling this into each of the students in the program. The idea is that we have to think on a whole different time scale when we think about the landscape and how we design it. He told us to design a landscape for 50 or 100 years down the road. This is a very hard concept to manage since we’re unlikely to ever see that vision realized. The landscape moves along at its own pace and while we’re aware of it, we often don’t truly recognize…

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Road Ecology and Wildlife Crossings

This is the third and final post in a series looking at wildlife movement, corridors and roads. Read the first post, Ecology Lesson: Population Movements, which was followed by Corridor Ecology and Planning.

Roads

Roads crisscross the entire country covering much of the land. Highways take us through states or across the whole country, streets cover cities and dirt roads link rural areas to cities. They traverse over rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys, deserts and forests. Some highways are many lanes wide and some bridges are modern engineering marvels. They bring us commercial goods, foods and fuel across great distances. There are over 4 million miles of roads in the United States alone.

Road Ecology

Road ecology is a field that addresses the relationship between roads, wildlife and the environment. The topic has received a lot of attention over the past 30 years with a lot of focus on roads and wildlife….

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Corridor Ecology and Planning

This is the second post in a series looking at wildlife movement, corridors and roads. The full series: Ecology Lesson: Population Movements,  Corridor Ecology and Planning and Road Ecology and Wildlife Crossings.

Wildlife needs to move for many reasons which were discussed in Ecology Lesson: Population Movements. There are many barriers in the urban landscape that prevent or make movement difficult for wildlife. Among the many barriers are roads including small streets to major highways, development such as shopping centers or subdivisions, railroad lines, powerline corridors, canals, dams and non wildlife-friendly landscapes such as agriculture, golf courses or cemeteries.

Fragmentation

“Habitat fragmentation is a dynamic process that has three main components: an overall loss of habitat in the landscape, reduction in the size of remaining blocks, and increased isolation by new forms of land use.” – Linkages…

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Ecology Lesson:: Population Movements

This is the first post in a series looking at wildlife movement, corridors and roads. The full series: Ecology Lesson: Population Movements,  Corridor Ecology and Planning and Road Ecology and Wildlife Crossings.

This is also the second post in the Ecology Lesson series, the first being The Basics.

There are three categories of wildlife movement, the first being contained in a ‘home range’ or an area that is usually occupied by a population where individuals or groups travel daily or populations move as a group to another area inside their home range. Some animals have large home ranges while most have smaller ones. Wildlife that migrates has two home ranges with a migration route between them. The second category is where individuals move in or out of a home range, which is often known as dispersal. The final category is nomadism.

We’re all familiar with migration,…

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