Planting for habitats

When designing a wildlife area, the aim is to try to recreate, or start off the natural process of habitats forming. If we had a big enough space, little disturbance form humans, and many decades to play with, the natural processes would create habitats with no help from us.

young trees

But for our purposes, we need to speed things along a bit. The simplest way to get things going is to plant certain plants, then over time allow the plants to mature, while managing the areas a little to help this along.
With these trees for example, we could help them by removing the grass from around their roots since the grass becomes competition for water and nutrients.

When the plants are there, insects follow, and when insects are there, birds and other animals follow. This is what we hope for.

Below are the planting plans worked out by Ashley Arbon and myself for the field, we are using all native species. The map shows the areas.

Why use native plants to help wildlife? This is a very important question. Insects and other animals have evolved alongside these plants for the last 10,000 years, since the end of the last ice age, this means they have developed very specific relationships with each other. Imagine you are a hungry bee and you can’t reach that nectar because the flower that lures you was adapted for hummingbirds in the tropics!