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Chemicals & Their Effects on Wildlife

There is a big debate on how the use of chemicals effects our environment. It is safe to say that regardless of who is right and who is wrong, the bottom line is; we are better off not using them.  Our main focus here is the use of chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.

First, lets look at the accepted benefits of the chemicals.

  • Provide a cheap source of nutrients to plants
  • Controls fungus
  • Kills plant life that is not desirable in a certain area
  • Kills insects that are harmful to growing plants

Now, we will take a closer look at these benefits and their effects on wildlife.

It is true that chemical fertilizers provide a cheap source of nutrients to plants.  The problem is that it is usually applied in such doses that the plants can never absorb all of it.  The excess runs off into streams and ponds and causes other plant life to grow at rates that the local habitat would never have supported.  This then causes certain species of plant life to either take over or die out.  Once a plant specie dies out in an area, all the wildlife that was dependant on that plant will usually move elsewhere.  The species that benefit from the fertilizers will attract a larger population of the wildlife that uses those plants.  We create this scenario all across America.  We plant the same crop over acres and acres.  This attracts the wildlife that benefits from this in large numbers.  We then solve this problem by spaying more chemicals.  Usually when species of wildlife and plant life expand in numbers beyond what a local habitat can handle, the habitat will start to suffer.  More and more species will die or move elsewhere. 

There are many ways to provide nutrients to the soil that will provide a slow release of the needed nutrients and not allow free chemicals to leach into waterways and wells.  By using crop rotation in vegetable gardens and planting legumes and other nitrogen building plants nitrogen levels can be increased naturally.  Use compost as a main source of nutrients.  Plant flowerbeds that are diversified and not concentrated with one plant.  Stop planting plants that cannot survive on their own.  If a plant needs all these chemicals to survive, isn't it obvious that it doe not belong in this habitat!  Mulching provides many benefits.  It works to retain moisture and it releases nutrients at a slow pace.  It keeps unwanted plants from growing.  Use your downed leaves.  Compost or mulch with them instead of throwing them away, is throwing away nutrients from your habitat.

A habitat that is in balance will provide the proper levels of wildlife to maintain itself.  If aphids multiply, so will ladybugs and other insects that eat them.  Remember, chemicals disrupt the natural selection and balance of a habitat.  Allow the habitat to maintain itself.


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