Boots On The Ground Conservation


  • The Life of a Single Mom

    Solitary bee

    Most of what we read in the news about declines in bee populations focus on (non-native) honey bees.  Yes, those populations are suffering declines from the combined impacts diseases, habitat loss, pesticide use and other factors.  However, there are nearly 4,000 bee species in North America, and many of them are dealing with the same pressures and threats as honey bees.  In addition, honey bees are social insects, living in large collaborative colonies of workers and queens.  The vast majority of bees in North America, however, are not social, and they succeed or fail on the backs of single moms.

  • Why Restoration Takes Time

    Relationships in the soil become stronger during restoration. Although all major groups of soil life are already present in former agricultural soils, they are not really connected. These connections need time to literally grow, and fungi are the star performers. A European research team has shown the complete network of soil life for the first time.

    Earthworms, fungi, nematodes, mites, springtails, and bacteria are all very busy underground. All soil life together forms one community. Under natural circumstances, that is. All the known groups of soil organisms are present from the start, but the links between them are missing. Because they don't interact, the community isn't ready to support a diverse plant community yet.

    Fungi turn out to play a very important role in restoration, appearing to drive the development of new networks in the soil. After six years, about 10% is fungal biomass and 90% is from bacteria. Still, already at that stage, about half the carbon -- being the food -- goes to the fungi. After 30 years, that share has risen to three quarters of the carbon stored. Fungi really are the drivers in natural soils.

    Understanding how these networks form is critical to fully understanding the process of ecological restoration. You can read all about it here.

  • Seed Shed Doings, February 2017

    Of course, we have also been busy with organizing the 30th Anniversary TPE Prairie Conference in partnership with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation to be held March 4, 2017.  If you haven’t signed up yet, the deadline is February 22. For all the details, go to the TPE website.

    We look forward to seeing all of you there!