Conservation on Private Lands Initiative
ESF Research Assistant Sam Quinn and Drs. Don Leopold and James Gibbs work to preserve wild populations and ecosystems in partnerships with private landowners as part of the Conservation on Private Lands Initiative. Protected private lands are double the area of national park land in the lower 48 states, and much of this land is being used in novel and productive ways to benefit both landowners and biodiversity. In this initiative, ESF researchers work with private landowners, providing guidance and recommendations on how to support biodiversity and conservation enhancements on their land, and to improve landscape productivity and ecosystem function. ESF delivers the science-based support needed to sustain wildlife and its habitat on private lands, working to advance a nation-wide trend in private lands conservation.
Sam Quinn presented at the 'Stewardship in Skaneateles' webinar, hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County. Watch and listen as Sam explains the ecological benefits of meadow restoration.
Photo (Sam Quinn): Lawns are a staple feature of American residential landscapes, yet are typically monocultures of exotic grasses devoid of life. Here Sam Quinn prepares a lawn for conversion to meadow.
Photo (Sam Quinn): In contrast to lawns, meadows composed of native grasses and flowers are full of diverse plant species that support rich biodiversity. The restored wildflower meadow pictured here contains dozens of plant species established to create habitat for grassland birds and beneficial insects, as well as to greatly reduce management costs by eliminating the need for constant mowing.
Managing the Landscape for production & conservation
Photo (Sam Quinn): Sugar maples are just one of several native trees that yield sap that can be made into syrup. Yellow birch can also be tapped to produce delicious syrup, creating a sustainable source of income for enterprising landowners. Here a student measures the diameter of a yellow birch to estimate its syrup production potential.
Photo (Sam Quinn): Insect pollinators and other beneficial wild species contribute essential ecosystem services to our economy. Rather than charge a dollar fee in exchange for pollinating our crops, these animals instead require we set aside some of our land to provide the habitat they need to persist on farms and throughout the landscape. Here a graduate student samples insect pollinators on beebalm planted by farmers to enhance pollination in the nearby crop field.