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Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species?

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This experiment has shown that flowering garden plant assemblages can provide a resource for pollinators regardless of the plants’ origin and that the greater the resource available the more pollinators will visit.

By Andrew Salisbury, James Armitage1, Helen Bostock1, Joe Perry, Mark Tatchell and Ken Thompson
Journal of Applied Ecology
Aug 11, 2015

Excerpt:

Summary:

1. Domestic gardens typically consist of a mixture of native and non-native plants which support biodiversity and provide valuable ecosystem services, particularly in urban environments. Many gardeners wish to encourage biodiversity by choosing appropriate plant taxa. The value of native and non-native plants in supporting animal biodiversity is, however, largely unknown.

2. The relative value of native and non-native garden plants to invertebrates was investigated in a replicated field experiment. Plots (deliberately akin to garden borders) were planted with one of three treatments, representing assemblages of plants based on origin (native, near-native and exotic). Invertebrates and resource measurements were recorded over four years. This paper reports the abundance of flower-visiting aerial insects (‘pollinators’) associated with the three plant assemblages.

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August 18, 2015   Comments Off on Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species?

Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer

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Antonia Murphy, you might say, is an unlikely farmer. Born and bred in San Francisco, she spent much of her life as a liberal urban cliché, and her interactions with the animal kingdom rarely extended past dinner.

By Antonia Murphy
Gotham
January 22, 2015
272 pages

“One month into our stay, we’d managed to dispatch most of our charges. We executed the chickens. One of the cats disappeared, clearly disgusted with our urban ways. And Lucky [the cow] was escaping almost daily. It seemed we didn’t have much of a talent for farming. And we still had eleven months to go.”

Antonia Murphy, you might say, is an unlikely farmer. Born and bred in San Francisco, she spent much of her life as a liberal urban cliché, and her interactions with the animal kingdom rarely extended past dinner.

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August 18, 2015   Comments Off on Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer