Three Ravens Ranch
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Exploring Conservation Objectives

Advances in Conservation Technology. Wendi Lutz

My husband and I developed our interest in native plants when we moved to rural property in Northern Nevada in 1978. At that time only a few biologists, botanists, conservationists, wildlife and plant specialists were available on a local level to property owners living in rural areas. In the early days there were two primary methods for conservation and restoration. Agricultural conservation focused on plantings to improve land for agricultural use by providing plants for livestock forage and feed. Conversely, environmental activists advocated an extremely opposite approach, prohibiting any private use or restricting access to land that was determined to be of ecological significance. The result of these combined philosophies was a patchwork of single species plantings interspersed with a scattering of disconnected properties sporadically managed for obscure conservation objectives.

As the concept of sustainability and biological diversity became more apparent to agricultural researchers and plant specialists, conservation began to focus on the interdependence of soil, plants, climate and all living organisms. Conservation managers saw better success in wildland management and rural restoration plantings when they emulated the diversity found in nearby preserved indigenous plant and animal populations. They saw that maintaining a balanced array of adapted native plants helped control populations of animal and plant pests and restored soil health and fertility. Environmental organizations learned that properly managed agricultural use can benefit restoration activities. Agricultural and conservation organizations, native plant societies and small regional nurseries began working together to develop conservation principles and planting guidelines that supported the use of native plants.

Now, native plants are specified by state and federal departments of transportation and other governmental agencies. Native plantings are often incorporated into restoration activities after wildfires or road construction. Priority is given to agricultural conservation activities that employ native plants. Conservation organizations now recognize the importance of working with private property owners to create areas of greater biological diversity that supports sustainable conservation. Many regional nurseries and seed sellers now offer native plants to their customers.

Our own experience as property owners, as conservation supervisors and with rangeland restoration projects has helped us develop tools for planting success. We designed the Plant Selector Kit to help property owners like ourselves select and use native plants appropriate to the specific needs of individual properties. The concept of the Plant Selector Kit incorporates current knowledge relating to ecoregion inventory and historic flora lists with soil and climate data analysis to select plants and seeds for a variety of landscape planting objectives.

Articles And Guidelines To Help You Begin.

Three Ravens Ranch presents a series of conservation articles to illustrate how the application of native and adapted plants and EcoRegion principles work in rural planting projects. The four topics explore how site specific seeds and plants are used in Creating Your Own Wildlife Sanctuary, developing Quality Pastures, designing Beautiful Country Landscapes, and in Selecting Quality Vegetation For Hunting Properties.

The Checklist For Creating An Ecologically Balanced Landscape. provides a a helpful list of what you'll need to begin planning your project.

Creating Your Own Wildlife Sanctuary.
Quality Pastures.
Beautiful Country Landscapes.
Selecting Quality Vegetation For Hunting Properties.
Checklist For Successful Planting.

Need Stimulus Money For Your Conservation Project?

The US economy is suffering. If you, like many budget conscious Americans, need to maximize your conservation dollars, you can find valuable information in two new articles. The Economic Downturn. Is Environmental Resource Conservation Still Possible? discusses the general concept of developing reciprocal resource value relationships within ecosystems help to maximize conservation dollars. Finding U.S. Stimulus Dollars For Your Private Property Conservation Project. gives specific information about how U.S. Stimulus package funds will be used by Federal Agencies and lists ways you can get money for your conservation project.