Wildlife experts recommend not raking leaves that have fallen on the ground in autumn. Conservationists say that raking leaves can destroy the habitat of many wildlife species and that leaving them to decompose on the ground will revitalize the soil with much needed nutrients.
Fallen leaves offer several benefits to gardeners when they are left on the ground instead of being gathered into piles and disposed of. First of all, they naturally suppress weeds if left alone. Secondly, they provide valuable fertilization to the soil.
According to David Mizejewski, a naturalist working for NWF, people should let the fallen leaves stay on their property as it would be a missed opportunity to turn them into solid waste. He added that wildlife is also harmed when the leaves are raked because habitats of certain animals are destroyed in the process.
Animals, birds and insects alike benefit from the existence of the leaves, as they depend on them. Fallen leaves are a source of food, nesting and shelter for many living beings. Many moth and butterfly caterpillars remain hidden within the leaves during winter and protect themselves from the cold before finally emerging in spring.
Not only does leaving fallen leaves on the ground benefit the wildlife and the soil itself, but it also considerably diminishes the amount of solid waste that needs to be processed. Greenhouse gases are reduced if less waste is gathered in landfills.
And if you think a few leaves won’t make a difference, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might be able to make you think twice about it. The agency published data that shows that leaves and other yard matter amount to 33 tons or more than 13 percent of the total solid waste that the country produces on a yearly basis.
The landfills where the leaves end up, meaning landfills with solid waste, are the number one cause for emission of greenhouse gas methane by a manmade source.
Citing an appreciation for nature as another argument for letting the leaves stay where they are, David Mizejewski added that the less time people spend raking the leaves, the more time they will have to actually appreciate the beauty of their gardens during fall as well as the wildlife that will visit them as a result of keeping the gardens untouched.
Additional advice about what people can do in order to properly take car eof their gardens included avoiding the use of leaf blowers which rely on fossil fuel to function as well as building brush shelters out of sticks, leaves and fallen branches in order to also aid native wildlife during fall.
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