Maintaining native landscapes and natural areas are what’s called ‘stewardship’. It’s the routine action taken to sustain the aesthetic and ecological integrity of a restoration site. This practice is the foundation of our company and is considered our highest priority. What happens if there’s no stewardship?
Just like you wouldn’t leave your lawn un-mowed or your yard without maintenance, a natural area needs to be cared for as well.
Once a natural area is created, restored, or enhanced, it must be stewarded in order to thrive. Without it, it will become overgrown with invasive and weedy species that are detrimental to the site. The goal of natural area stewardship is to prevent the invasives from growing and thereby allowing the native plants and flowers to flourish. A thriving native environment attracts pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and dragonflies along with an increase of birds and other animals that depend on native plants for survival.
And because mother nature is so fickle, every year at each project site is different. Rain, fire, flood and drought all have an effect. If you try to predetermine a specified number of visits to a project, it’s highly likely that the project won’t look nearly as good as it could. Mother Nature is unpredictable and stewardship needs to occur when the timing is right for each project, and cannot be predetermined.
A best practices approach to stewardship puts the project on a performance plan where we get together with our clients and determine success criteria based on an increasing number of native plants and decreasing number of invasive species. We work year-round to meet and exceed the success criteria – making the project a success.
Some of our stewardship techniques include:
- Prescribed fires (see more here)
- Brush cutting
- Applying herbicides
- Hand-pulling weeds