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Natural Landscaping, Environmental Benefits

by James P. Engel, © 2003

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Natural vegetation provides far more environmental, ecological and economic benefits to the homeowner and community than comparable land in grass; Lawn actually provides a net loss of environmental benefits when you consider the inputs of fuel, fertilizer pesticides. If we had to buy what nature provides free of charge, most of us could not afford to pay the price for the environmental benefits contained in natural landscapes. As a society we can no longer rely and depend on large expanses of surrounding pristine land to help cleanse the pollution form our towns and cities. Each of us needs to do what we can to surround ourselves with a buffer against pollution. If it could be quantified, surrounding your home with a forest could provide significant health benefits. Wild lands and especially woodlands have a tremendous capacity to purify water and air. The benefits are necessary for our quality of life and life itself, but these benefits are seldom appreciated or given appropriate value. Wild lands help to purify and store rainfall, the vegetation serves to hold runoff and prevent erosion until it has a chance to infiltrate into the soil. This water recharges ground water supplies.which is necessary for tree growth and helps to maintain stream flows and water wells. Trees and shrubs serve as filtering agents removing pollution and carbon dioxide while purifying the air and releasing oxygen back into the air.

Woodlands help to moderate environmental extremes of temperature and wind. Temperatures near woodlands are cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Natural restoration provides an alternative to this biological dead end conversion of valuable land. This alternative has never been widely promoted, researched and marketed to the suburban property owners; probably because no one saw a way to profit from it. I think more homeowners would chose to preserve and create natural habitat if they were educated in the why’s and how to’s of the natural environment.

This page updated September 10, 2004