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Lake County Forest Preserves: Biodiversity

March/April 2017

From The Lake County Forest Preserve website


The Lake County Forest Preserve is working to preserve and restore the habitats that our native wildlife and plants need to survive and thrive. And helping us enjoy the many wonderful creatures that live all around us.

Historically, the southern end of Lake Michigan was a conversion point of several ecosystems, including northern bog and tundra, eastern deciduous woodlands, southern swamps and western prairie. As a result, the lands  surrounding Lake Michigan contain some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Living in the islands of habitat nestled between the human dwellings are thousands of native animal and plant species. Native species are those that have evolved in this re- gion of the country. The species in Lake County, Illinois make up some of the rarest natural communities on Earth.

Biodiversity, short for “biological diversity,” refers to the variety of life forms on Earth. Biodiversity keeps our air and water clean, regulates our climate, and provides all plants and animals (including humans) with food, shelter, clothing, medicine, and other useful products.

Natural communities such as prairies, savannas, woodlands and wetlands once covered the Midwest. Human development of the land and invasive species have greatly affected these communities. Only fragments of the original habitats have survived to current day, jeopardizing biodiversity in Lake County.

Lake County is home to more endangered and threatened species than any other county in Illinois. Here are some ways in which you can help by partnering with LCFP or on your own:

Protecting our Native Species – Creating habitat for valuable wildlife in a world where space is limited by constant growth and development is a difficult task. We can work together to restore and protect our natural habitats and the plants and animals that depend on them.

Education is Key – Educate and become educated on ways to coexist with wildlife.

Volunteer – One person can make a difference for the species within a prairie, wetland or woodland. Hundreds of people over thousands of hours can make all the  difference.

Create Backyard Habitat – The decisions we make when landscaping our yards determine what kinds of wildlife live there and whether or not we can peacefully co-exist with them.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Invest – It’s as simple as one, two, three and even four. Americans generate more waste year after year, and landfills are reaching their maximum capacities. Not only is development encroaching on wildlife habitat, but waste is also taking a toll. Simply reducing consumption can benefit wildlife and human habitat.

Learn more at LCFP.org.


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