December 3, 2018
Holiday Greens: Leave the Greens for Wildlife!
Wonderfully fragrant and lovely to behold, those snow covered pines, evergreen boughs, and festive branches covered with red berries are all protected on Audubon Wildlife Refuges.
Audubon’s policy of no clipping has been established to preserve these plants, which create important habitat for birds and other creatures.
Important reasons not to clip on wildlife refuges include:
- Historically, uncontrolled collecting of plants has contributed to declines and even local extinction of some species.
- Pulling up whole plants or removing large branches for holiday decorations (e.g., roping for mantels and railings) can harm plants in many ways. Wounded plants are often more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Many of these species are slow to recover.
- Clipping berries reduces valuable food for resident wildlife struggling to survive in winter when food supplies are low. Removing or altering the vegetation reduces cover for animals.
- Disturbing natural communities opens the door to invasive species that are more aggressive than the native plants.
- Harvesting disrupts the native community through trampling, soil disturbance, introduction of pests etc.
- Many rare plants are uncommon because of habitat disturbance or destruction and indiscriminate collection over the years.