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Gardening for Life
by Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy 

Chances are, you have never thought of your garden -- indeed, of all the space on your land -- as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the United States. That is exactly the role our suburban landscapes our now playing and will play even more critically in the near future. If this is news to you, it's not your fault. 

We were taught from childhood that gardens are for beauty; they are a chance to express our artistic talents, to have fun with, and relax in. And, whether we like it or not, the way we landscape our properties is taken by our neighbors as a statement of our wealth and social status. 

No one has taught us that we have forced the plants and animals that evolved in North America (our nation's biodiversity) to depend more and more on human-dominated landscapes for their continued existence. We have always thought that biodiversity was happy somewhere out there -- "in nature" -- in our local woodlot, or perhaps our national parks, or best of all "in the rain forest." We have heard nothing about the rate at which species are disappearing from our neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states. 

We have never been taught how vital biodiversity is for our own well-being. 

We Have Taken it All

The population of the United States, now nearing three hundred and six million people, has doubled since most of us were kids, and continues to grow by eight thousand forty-six people per day. This, coupled with our love affair with the car, and our quest to own ever larger homes, has fueled urbanized development that continues to sprawl over two million acres per year (the size of Yellowstone National Park). We have connected all of our developments with four million miles of road, and their combined paved surface could occupy roughly the area of Pennsylvania. 

Copyright ©2020 by Douglas Tallamy, Homegrown National Park™. Used with Permission.

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