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Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded Paperback – April 1, 2009
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“Provides the rationale behind the use of native plants, a concept that has rapidly been gaining momentum. . . . The text makes a case for native plants and animals in a compelling and complete fashion.” —The Washington Post
“This is the ‘it’ book in certain gardening circles. It’s really struck a nerve.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Reading this book will give you a new appreciation of the natural world—and how much wild creatures need gardens that mimic the disappearing wild.” —The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A compelling argument for the use of native plants in gardens and landscapes.” —Landscape Architecture
“An essential guide for anyone interested in increasing biodiversity in the garden.” —American Gardener
“I want to mention how excited I am about reading Bringing Nature Home. . . . I like the writing—enthusiastic and down-to-earth, as it should be.” —Garden Rant
“An informative and engaging account of the ecological interactions between plants and wildlife, this fascinating handbook explains why exotic plants can hinder and confuse native creatures, from birds and bees to larger fauna.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Tallamy explains eloquently how native plant species depend on native wildlife.” —San Luis Obispo Tribune
“Will persuade all of us to take a look at what is in our own yards with an eye to how we, too, can make a difference. It has already changed me.” —Traverse City Record-Eagle
“Delivers an important message for all gardeners: Choosing native plants fortifies birds and other wildlife and protects them from extinction.” —WildBird Magazine
From the Inside Flap
With the accelerating pace of development and subsequent habitat destruction, the pressures on wildlife populations are greater than they have ever been in our nation's history. Fortunately, there is still time to reverse this alarming trend, and gardeners have the power to make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity.
As this revelatory book eloquently explains, there is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife. Indeed, most native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plant species disappear or are replaced by alien exotics, the insects disappear, thus impoverishing the food source of birds and other animals. In many parts of the world, habitat destruction has been so extensive that local wildlife populations are in crisis and may well be headed toward extinction.
By favoring native plants, gardeners can provide a welcoming environment for wildlife of all kinds. This doesn't necessarily entail a drastic overhaul of existing gardens. The process can be gradual and can reflect both the gardner's preferences and local sensitivities. To help concerned gardeners, this clearly reasoned account includes helpful lists of native plants for different regional habitats.
Healthy local ecosystems are not only beautiful and fascinating; they are also essential to human well-being. By heeding Douglas Tallamy's affecting arguments and acting upon his practical recommendations, gardeners everywhere can make a difference.
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- the author talked mostly about ornamental trees, he did not discuss fruit trees.
- the author talked about the pathogens that "alien" trees might bring with them, but he did not discuss starting those trees from seeds.
- i believe in some places like deserts, the introduction of some "alien" tree species might do more good than harm if they will withstand the harsh environment.
overall its an ok book. and i do agree that using native trees for landscaping is better.
I already preferred using native plants (so a lot of preaching to the choir on that one) and I already appreciated insects but Tallamy really connects the two in a deeper more profound way than I ever imagined.
Now when I see something has nibbled my plant it's become an exciting treasure hunt... and low and behold! There is a caterpillar that will become a butterfly - pollinator conservation from start to finish. I have definitely been convinced that creating a strong baseline insect population is the beginning step to real wildlife habitat in my own yard.
I was amazed at how many of the plants I thought were native were from China, Japan, and other far flung places around the world. These plants, in addition to harboring pests which have no natural predators on our continent, frequently out compete our native plants and animals depleting all the insects and animals that are dependent upon our native plants for their food, shelter and homes. The remainder of this book gives details about what one should plant to support our native animals and increase the biodiversity that is the safety net of our ecosystem. There are color pictures of important plants and insects, several charts which show the natives to grow in which conditions and the part of the country where they will grow best. There are extensive literature citations/research to back up the recommendations. Highly recommend this book.
As an entomologist, Tallamy's attention focuses on the insects, and his book contains relatively little discussion of some of the other aspects of a bird-friendly yard: berries which the birds can use in winter, water, shelter, etc. Cats are not found in the index and it's important that they not be found in the yard.