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These Animals Are Made Possible by Fallen Leaves

The Humane GardenerYou can have all the native plants you want, but you won’t have nearly as many wild visitors unless you also leave the leaves – “I opened the October issue of Consumer Reports with a feeling of mild dread. Every autumn, the magazine publishes an article extolling the virtues of leaf blowers, mowers, and other tools of destruction.A piece debating the pros and cons of vacuum functionality warned that leaf blowers might damage plants. But not to worry, the writer noted in the online version of the article: You can always switch to the vacuum mode instead! “If you have a small yard and are diligent about keeping up with leaves as they fall, or if you want to surgically suck up leaves from around bushes and flower beds, the vacuum mode on your leaf blower can save you time and effort.” Time, effort, money—these are the shortsighted reasons often cited for deploying weapons against nature. I could list dozens of reasons why leaf blowers and vacuums are counterproductive to all three of those goals…In an era of compounding losses, we need to focus not on saving ourselves from inconvenience but on saving lives instead. As I watch plants go to sleep for the winter, I think of all the animals who are doing so too, especially the ones who’ve been able to make a life here because we have enough leaves to help them through every season. From the luna moth to the wood frog, many of our wild residents need the ground layers that so many of our human neighbors are intent on blowing away. Some of the species featured here were new to our habitat this year—a testament to what can happen when we adopt an ethos of minimal disturbance to the land…”

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