I have no idea where to put this. Yet, I had an epiphany of sorts, today. I was out working in what is slowly becoming a food forest. I was cutting grass by hand, to give some room for the wild asters to seed. I had just pruned a cedar, with wet feet. I had my piles of materials. My grass and my tree limbs. And I thought I have everything I need. I don't ever need to buy soil or mulch. Everything I need is right here and if managed properly, always will be. As I was walking back in house, my oldest said "mom come look at this!". I looked at her phone and there were images of an emaciated bear that had been spotted multiple times, in a neighboring town. Knocked the wind right out of my sails... And I thought almost in tears, this ecosystem is about more than my little acre. That hungry bear 15 miles away is connected to my acre. And here comes the epiphany part. 45 acres of farmland is for sale across the street. And it is expensive, very. 300,000. Yet, still I am dreaming. But my dreams have been about what we could do. Bed and breakfast, rental cabins etc. But what if I bought the land somehow, primarily for a wildlife preserve. Use a few acres to grow our grains and other crops we would like to sell. What if we made the rest a wildlife area. What if we made a huge food forest with predominantly native and naturalized species. I know there are rules and regulations for such things. But I am dreaming, now. And what if every county in the United States and what regions in other countries did this. Just thoughts. Thank you, for letting me think out loud, here. Love this community. I have learned a great deal in two weeks. I am grateful.
From what I've previously researched, there is so much unused government land that could easily be used for wildlife preservation or Permaculture projects. Within a 50km radius of me there are around 300 acres just sitting unused by the gov't. Not to mention DucksUnlimited only use their land for a few months of the year.
I'd assume it'd be easier to make up a plan, while having some good credentials, and ask the gov't to let you turn some of that unused land into a wildlife preserve. That's my guess, but I'm sure their are non-profit groups around that do similar things.
WHIP is a voluntary landowner program that is devoted to the improvement of upland wildlife habitat. It is available in all 50 states and has enrolled nearly 11,000 landowners totaling 1,600,000 acres (6,500 km2) since its beginning in 1998. Eligibility is limited to privately owned, federal, tribal and government lands (Limited)
"Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequences of that change"
- L.Charles Birch
There is a couple hundred acre Girl Scout camp nearby that I used to manage. It was fenced many decades ago and then essentially left untouched. There are a few campsites with wood floors where we would put up tents every summer, there are various buildings scattered here and there, and a couple of lakes were dammed over a hundred years ago. The rest was basically unhindered. When I was there, it had transformed itself into a separate eco-system. Or maybe rather, it had preserved what the area's eco-system was like before our town built up. It is really quite remarkable what removing farming and buildings will do for a place. There are snakes everywhere, unlike outside the fence. There are porcupines and quail that haven't been seen in, well, ...forever. Trees grow and die and fall as they will.
Just down the hill from us is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It was established in the 1970's. I remember the valley before it became park. Lots of houses, a number of really vicious nasty toxic waste dumps, many businesses along the river (including a paper plant) and everywhere well lit at night. You couldn't fish and keep in the river unless you wanted to grow extra parts. It was a (once beautiful) mess.
Now, years and millions upon millions of federal dollars later, the buildings are gone, the lights are gone, the dumps cleaned up, the river is no longer polluted, the noise of daily business life is quieted. The herons, coyotes, beavers, eagles, turkeys, turtles, wood peckers, mink and even occasional bears are back. The beavers have transformed hundreds of acres of once dry farm land into beaver "swamps". The Park has even removed some not native trees, so more "original" trees can flourish. The waterfalls run free. And the few remaining farm fences, in now deep woods, rust away. Each year it becomes increasingly difficult to tell where the friends of my youth once lived. All quite the change in just a partial lifetime.
Even our town is transformed. A hundred and fifty years ago, we used to be able to stand on our barn bridge and see the town center a mile and a half away. Now it is all woods as all the other farmers have quit tilling and got easier city jobs. I have planted thousands of trees, but most of the woods around us now have replanted themselves simply by being left alone. It's so different now it has become hard to place where old family photographs were taken.
So, what you propose is possible. Remove the "works of man" and nature will have her way with a place. But it generally takes time and money and desire to do. The acres across the road from you could host lots of life, not generally seen in corn fields and tract house lands. It's not anywhere large enough for a bear, but you could have butterflies and birds and small animals not common to many "used" places. Good luck. What you dream of is Gaia's and God's work.
...P.S. We host wwoof'ers and have an intentional community in our corner of green Earth. If you visit our permie profile, readers can find us and maybe someday come for a visit.
Creating sustainable life, beauty & food (with lots of kids and fun)