Nine Little Known Facts Very Important to Randy (by Randy)

1. The grass lands of California were formerly covered mostly by flowers, not grass.

2. The vast majority of rare plants and animals live in open, non-forested environments.

3. The vast majority of conservation money has been used to quote protect redwood forest—most of which is relatively uninteresting biologically—but could actually benefit from judicious thinning over time.

4. This county was originally far less wooded than it is now. Its open grasslands have been swallowed up, first by agriculture and urbanization, and now the remnants are being swallowed up by trees and brush. Of the few remnants, only an extremely tiny proportion consists of the "flower field" type of grassland which is so rich. These are true biological hotspots. Most of them are now buried under golf courses and housing tracts and the rest are becoming usurped/overrun by weeds.

5. Most plants and animals benefit from "disturbance" of various kinds like fire, grazing, floods, tree cutting, and in extreme cases even flooding. And many would go extinct without it.

6. Logging, grazing, and small scale farming are examples of sustainable economic land uses that could be compatible with protecting rare species, and generally enriching natural and human environments. Urbanization, mining, golf courses, and industrial agriculture are not.

7. Most rare habitats and species are on private lands. The owners could be our greatest allies in protecting these natural treasures, but they are often alienated by heavy-handed government regulations and mitigation requirements, that are generally expensive and often counter productive. What is needed are incentives, rather than disincentives for people to maintain/value/appreciate the special natural features of their property.

8. Effective "habitat restoration" is accomplished by sustained weeding of invasive species, and/or certain forms of disturbance depending on the situation; simply planting of native species, however well intentioned, is simply a waste of time and money at best.

9. Likewise, there is nothing particularly virtuous about growing "native" plants in urban gardens; grow what you like. More importantly, in gardens set in or adjacent to wild or natural environments, it is always safer not to grow natives, however counter-intuitive that may seem.



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