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Backyard Ecosystems

By Tuesday Fuller
The interaction between bees and plants are vital in the success of an ecosystem.

A backyard ecosystem describes a specific geographical location, including not only the animals, plants, and insects in that region, but also the physical characteristics and climates of that specific region. Your specific ecosystem may vary greatly from someone living in the next county or state.

Significance

Backyard ecosystems are important for the preservation of native plants, animals, and insects. Due to the increasing push of humans into the wild, species are looking elsewhere for food and shelter, upsetting regional ecosystems.

Function

Backyard ecosystems have functions aside from providing a vista. Plants, like the plantain, grow wild in the ecosystem and provide relief from insect bites. Animals likes snakes and spiders help control rodent populations, and insects help quicken decomposition of decaying matter.

Creating a Natural Backyard Ecosystem

Provide food for the species of animals living in your area, including seed for birds, native plants and shrubs for herbivores and insects, and nuts for smaller animals. Build a pond, fountain, or other water source for the inhabitants of your ecosystem. Butterflies prefer small flat puddles for drinking. Provide protection for the wildlife by planting native shrubs and gathering dead trees in areas. These safe zones may also provide a species the chance to reproduce. Avoid toxic chemicals like weed killers and pesticides, which harm many native plants and animals. Instead, compost vegetation and mulch for fertilization. Many plants offer special pest-deterring aromas that drive off mosquitoes or problematic deer that may eat vital vegetable gardens.