The American Lawn: Understanding an Unnatural ObsessionPresentation Transcript
The American Lawn: Understanding an unnatural obsession Kristine Salters
(Is this any better than the driveway?) The intensively managed lawn
Part I: Why? How?
Thomas Jefferson, fan of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown
Part II: The Ecological Underpinnings of the Lawn
Need a picture of lawns in the desert. the town of Needham, MA, in the last century, they have lost over 330 plant species, which is about 44% of its native richness, while gaining over 200 non native species. This same trend is seen in birds, mammals, and insects. Urbanization endangers more species in the US than any other human activity
The ecological problems: INCREASED ENCOUNTERS WITH HUMANS H ow will conservation efforts respond? HOMOGENIZATION ANIMAL BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION Microevolution in the backyard? SPECIES EXTINCTION? Limit pesticide/fungicide/herbicide /insecticides
I’ll also touch: … Should I limit my focus? Outdoor power equipment & air pollution Water scarcity
Development and Lawns foster:
B. Introduction of nonindigenous grasses and ornamental shrubbery
- substrate for nonindigenous animals?
- linked with socioeconomics?
C.The use of toxins
- destruction of naturally occurring life
-decreased / increased species abundance
- Non native v. native
C. ANIMAL BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION
- Backyard promoted Microevolution?
D. SPECIES EXTINCTION
E. Changes in TROPHIC STRUCTURE?
F. INCREASED ENCOUNTERS WITH HUMANS
-how will conservation efforts respond?
What do you think?
“ I’ve never seen so many gulls.”
Part III: Reinventing the lawn
Will a(n) _________________ perspective help us change the ways of the lawn?
Ecological Productivity/food Resource scarcity Public Health
The “Freedom” Lawn What is the most feasible solution to a 150 year old landscaping trend?
Their solutions: Organic Lawn Care. organic, slow-release fertilizers, applying only pre-emergent weedkiller, leaving clippings on the lawn, and mowing at a higher setting. Or it could mean eliminating the need for added fertilizer by simply adding the self-feeding clover to lawns. Low-Maintenance Turfgrasses . Buffalo grass, centipede grass, clover, fine fescue mixes, or other drought-tolerant, slow-growing turfgrasses, where regionally appropriate, save a lot of resources. Reducing or Replacing Lawns. Where they aren't needed for recreation, lawns can be replaced with any mixture of trees, shrubs, and perennials, even edibles, and all of those can be beautiful.