Monday, July 9, 2012

Prairie Conservation

 

Herd of SheepSheep are great for many things, especially for a crocheter or knitter.  They are one of my first amigurumi designs and continue to be on of the most popular toys and patterns.

 

I am totally a nature and biology fan. Today, I was happy to read about sheep being used as bush, weed, and invasive plant control by Meewasin Valley Authority. With the loss of large grazing herds of bison and other animals from the Canadian prairies, the sheep in small scale replicate their behaviors. For 31 years Meewasin has been working towards the conservation and restoration of a the valley along with sharing their knowledge with the public.

Biodiversity and genetic diversity of our floral and fauna are so important to natural ecosystems especially with climate change. Ecosystems are loaded with webs of interactions between species that make them so difficult to fully understand the impact of a single species whether it be a plant or animal. The obvious impact of the sheep is their grazing on the pest plants and allowing the native plants to compete and grow. They fertilize the soil and provide nutrients for bacteria and bugs. I wonder if there is an impact from the mechanical action of the sheep walking on the soil. In this I imagine they are different from the large herds of bison.

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In my own vegetable garden I am tempted to lament the bugs eating the leaves. Even though some of the creepy-crawlies creep me out, I take a step back and look at all the different species that my garden is housing and I am happy by the mixture of insects, spiders, and bugs. In this picture there are 2 bees and another bug (beetle?) hanging out in a female zucchini flower in my garden.

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I learned about sheep in Meewasin in this article by CBC News.

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