How New Construction Hurts Wildlife Habitat
January 6, 2014
We are so fortunate here in North Texas that we have a thriving economy and a slew of new businesses moving into our area. But with all these new businesses also comes the need for more construction. And, while the most eco-friendly building is the one that already exists, sometimes a new structure must be created; and so, more homes and offices are being built.
With all the positive growth comes a drawback. New construction directly impacts our precious wildlife by filling in wetlands, mowing fields and cutting down trees. We’ve also “fragmentized” habitat by cutting up fields with roads, buildings, and highways. The loss of large pieces of land makes it difficult for creatures that need large spaces for hunting and breeding, or for birds looking for places to rest during migratory periods. Pollution is another issue with new construction. Pollution in our soil, air and especially our water, disrupts eco-systems so they are no longer able to support local wildlife.
A wide area of protection for existing trees is necessary during construction projects to preserve the root system.
New construction also has a big impact on established trees. We can't overstate how important it is to provide proper construction mitigation for trees when a new home or other structure is being built. Typically, little thought is given to how trenching damages tree roots, or how piling up construction materials around the base of trees can severely damage them. If you're building a new home, adding on to an existing one, doing any major landscaping or working on a commercial building project, please contact a qualified tree care company to provide proper protection for existing trees. Saving the trees will help you retain property value, cut down on utility costs and maintain habitat for wildlife.
In this photo, you can see how the trenching has destroyed tree roots. The surrounding trees have now lost a significant portion of their feeder and support roots, which will quickly weaken them. Here at PTS, we employ air spading to move soil from around roots, rather than cutting them.
What can we do to help our local habitat and urban forest? Here are a few easy tips to not only help our environment, but enrich our own lives as well.
- Create a wildlife habitat in your own backyard! Put out shelter, water & food for the birds. Remember when we wrote about the owls and orioles? They are a great reminder of who we are trying to protect.
- Go organic! Use organic fertilizers and natural disease and insect controls whenever possible, including beneficial insects. We understand that to be 100% organic is not always easy, but when you can, go organic.
- Plant native and adapted trees, shrubs and perennials. Here is a list of trees and shrubs that attract birds.
- Plant herbs and flowers that offer nectar to butterflies, homes for caterpillars, and pollen for bees.
- Always properly protect existing trees during a construction project. Read more here.
With a bit of effort each season, we can help sustain urban wildlife that lives here year-round, plus feed and house all the birds that migrate through our part of the world. Also, we can strive to be more conscientious about how construction activities impact our urban trees. Be sure to follow us on Facebook as we offer tips and reminders throughout the year on how to keep a landscape full of wonderful creatures safe and healthy.