Increasing biodiversity on your land

When farmland is healthy, there is plenty of habitat for wildlife, native plants, and a balanced ecosystem. This is called “biodiversity,” and everyone could do something to improve it on their land.

Jo Ann Baumgarten is the director of Wild Farm Alliance, an organization that promotes a healthy, viable agriculture through protecting and restoring wild nature. She says when there’s a lot of biodiversity, the benefits are many.

"They can attract pollinators that help to pollinate their crops, they attract beneficial insects which help to control pest insects. There’s beneficial birds that will also eat pest insects, they eat weed seeds, they eat rodents," says Baumgarten. "Bats are eating insects, and also four-footed creatures will be eating rodents if there’s connectivity."

Before you can make any adaptations to your land, you have to know what’s already there. Determine what’s working in your favor and what isn’t.

"First you need to look at the climate, the drainage, and soil conditions. If there’s problem areas like erosion and invasive species they should be dealt with first. One of the best things to do is to go someplace wild nearby and look at what’s growing there, and try to emulate that," she says. 

Extension services, resource conservation districts, and other local groups can offer technical assistance and get you started. There are several agencies and organizations that have cost-share programs to help you pay for improvements.

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