When it comes to bringing nature home, no one understands the critical relationships between native plants and the creatures that depend on them better than expert on garden insects, Doug Tallamy Ph.D. A professor at and chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware; Doug is also the author of the best-selling book, Bringing Nature Home.
His tireless passion to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how those interactions determine the diversity of animal communities is one of the key driving forces that keeps him in high demand.
Yet our love affair with alien plants, along with unchecked habitat loss to urban sprawl is taking a significant toll on important native plants. In too many areas of the country, there’s no place left for wildlife. By bringing nature home in the landscapes and gardens we ourselves create, we can collectively start to reverse this alarming decline.
Filling your landscape with native plants can provide beauty to you and critical ecosystem function to the native species that depend on them. In fact, Doug says that if you could only plant one tree, an oak tree is perhaps the best choice to support hundreds of native insect species. Native cherry trees are also a good option.
Specifically, oak trees are fantastic hosts to caterpillars. And birds need caterpillars for themselves and especially for their young. Baby birds can’t eat sunflower seeds for example so none of that helps at this most critical point of survival.
Links & Resources
Growing a Greener World Episode 620 – Bringing Nature Home. Be sure to watch this episode to see a lot of what Doug refers to in his podcast interview. This episode was filmed at Doug’s house which he uses as his living laboratory.
The Living Landscape – Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Landscape by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy. (A great companion book with beautiful pictures to illustrate the concepts Doug and co-author Rick Darke discuss in this book.)
Last Child in the Woods – Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. This is a best-selling book mentioned by Doug in this interview
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