News roundup

Haven’t done one of these in a while:

Home Buyers Are Drawn to Nearby Organic Farms – more evidence that urban edge agriculture has a niche:

Increasingly, subdivisions, usually master-planned developments at which buyers
buy home sites or raw land, have been treating farms as an amenity. “There are
currently at least 200 projects that include agriculture as a key community
component,” said
Ed McMahon, a senior fellow with the Urban Land Institute.

Careful though – the technique could be used as an excuse for sprawl, saving only a part of a farm while dividing the rest up in subdivisions.

Controlled Burn Planned – good use of prescribed fire:

The burn is similar to four others that have occurred since 1998 at Russian
Ridge, a 1,978-acre preserve known for its wildflowers and raptors, such as
red-tail hawks. The goal is to reduce overall fire risk by removing dead and
dying brush and grasses under controlled conditions. Controlled burns also can
limit the spread of non-native weeds and other invasive vegetation that choke
out native plants, thus providing more food and habitat for native wildlife as
well as improving spring wildflower displays.

Big plans for a little butterfly – endangered species reintroduction:

A team of researchers is proposing reintroducing a vanished butterfly
to the hills above Stanford University, a biological experiment with both
promise and peril.

If the experiment succeeds, it would return Bay checkerspot
butterflies to Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and offer important lessons to
the fledgling science of species reintroduction, which aims to save thousands of
plants and animals from extinction.

No guarantee it will work, but the risk – losing a small number of butterflies – may well be worth it. We’ll watch this with a lot of interest.


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