Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘karner blue butterfly’

Behind the Scenes: Central Sands farmers improving biodiversity (and sustainability) on our farms!

Duane Blog 6

Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers have long looked at sustainability as a three legged stool orf responsibility.  One leg is social responsibility, while another is economic.  The third leg, which gets a lot of attention, is environmental responsibility.  These thoughts and practices are second nature to us, in part, because of our relationship with our core researchers at UW-Madison, USDA, Ag Experiment Systems and our County Extension Agents.  Another reason for the prevalence of these practices on our farms is that is makes good business sense, serving us in achieving both our short and long term goals.  Biodiversity is just one component of our environmental responsibility.

Biodiversity tells us the number and variety of different native species found within an ecosystem. This is important to each of us.  A diverse environment of native species compared to similar environments that are dominated by a few non-native and often weedy less desirable species, is more stable ecologically and provides many essential services to communities. These ecosystem services are not always easy to identify.  They include many valuable natural benefits such as: water filtration, maintenance of soil structure and health, habitat for birds and pollinating insects, alternative food sources to preserve beneficial insect predators and habitats for rare and endangered species.  We have all of these things at work in our diverse ecosystem landscape.   (more…)

Behind the Scenes: Healthy Farms Restoring Natural Ecosystems

 

Blog 18Spring, beautiful springtime has arrived and we are moving quickly into summer.  Flowers are blooming and color has returned to our landscapes.  In farming regions, crop color has returned and also the diverse habitats of native landscapes.  In an effort to restore natural ecosystems, Wisconsin potato farmers along with the International Crane Foundation of Baraboo, WI have formed a collaboration to manage participating farms as whole ecosystems.

Each spring growers identify areas on their farms that have restoration potential.  Farmers document areas where the restoration of natural ecosystems, including grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands, can be achieved.  This typically occurs on field edges, unproductive areas, or in areas of existing remnants of native plant communities.  In Central Wisconsin, this work is often focused on re-establishing native grassland with perennial flowers and native grasses.  The dry sand prairies with short grasses were the original grass cover of the Central Sands region.

If done correctly, native restorations can conserve rare plants, improve habitat for declining grassland birds (such as meadowlark, bobolink, and grasshopper sparrows), and provide habitat for Wisconsin’s prairie-associated reptiles and amphibians. Perennial plant communities also benefit the soil, water, and the aesthetics of the local region.   (more…)

Thoughts for Food: Restoring Natural Ecosystems on Farms

Blog 18Spring is a beautiful time, with flowers blooming and color returning to our landscapes.  In farming regions, color is returning as well in the form of diverse habitats and native landscapes.  In an effort to “restore natural ecosystems,” the potato growers of Central Wisconsin and the International Crane Foundation of Baraboo, WI have formed a collaboration to manage the participating farms as whole ecosystems. (more…)

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