Farmer and Conservationist Bob Wubben Employs Biochar, Better Practices and Passion for Prairies and their Restoration

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Prairie lands are under threat from habitat loss, invasive species, and agricultural intensification. When biochar is added to prairie conservation then carbon sequestration is included into the equation.

Bob Wubben from the Blooming Prairie Nursery in Carlisle, Iowa has a passion for prairies and has had success in seeing their natural beauty return. Prairies are incredibly diverse ecosystems that support a wide variety of plant and animal species. They have extensive root systems that can store significant amounts of carbon, making them important in mitigating climate change. They also help improve soil quality and increase water infiltration, preventing soil erosion and improving water quality. Additionally, they provide fertile soil for agriculture, supporting the growth of crops and sustaining farming communities.

Prairie lands have been negatively impacted by various factors, such as habitat loss, grazing and fire suppression, invasive species, and agricultural intensification. To protect and restore prairie lands, conservation efforts focus on initiatives such as land preservation, restoration of native vegetation, controlled burning, and reintroduction of grazing animals. These measures aim to maintain the ecological integrity and promote the long-term sustainability of prairie ecosystems. 

ARTi’s Biochar being added to compost and the prairie.

Bob Wubben is an Iowa farmer and a conservationist. He has long recognized the need to view prairie lands in a different light. He has succeeded in restoring negatively impacted praise and has helped others do so as well. Bob is knowledgeable on the right balance of soil nutrients and elements to include. These are Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Oxygen and Hydrogen. 

He has his own line of biochar and biochar + compost and/or worm castings. Three soil health products work together to create the “Blooming Prairie Advantage” (link). When biochar is added to prairie conservation then carbon sequestration is included into the equation.

Farmer, conservationist and longtime ARTi friend Bob Wubben

Key to Bob’s observations on whether a prairie restoration effort has been successful is when butterflies and birds are happy to live there. The increase in butterflies and birds following a prairie restoration project is an indicator of the project’s success. These species are highly sensitive to environmental changes and require specific habitats and resources to thrive. Butterflies often rely on a diverse array of native plants for nectar and larval host sites, while birds depend on the availability of insects, seeds, and nesting areas. Their presence and proliferation suggest that the prairie ecosystem is recovering, providing the necessary conditions for a balanced and vibrant wildlife community. Thus, the rise in butterfly and bird populations is a positive sign that the restoration efforts are effectively revitalizing the prairie habitat. Bob also had been able to discover and then teach others about attracting butterflies and birds to gardens by planting native flowers. 

 

Many insects depend on specific flowers to grow. For instance, the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies can only feed on the leaves of milkweeds. Without milkweeds the Monarch butterfly cannot reproduce, and their populations decline. Many other insects also rely on specific “host” plants to survive and reproduce. Many birds also rely on native plants as food sources. Birds will eat the fruit of many native plants and, even more importantly, eat the insects that are attracted by the native plants. According to the Blooming Prairie Nursery website (link), 96% of birds feed their babies insects. By attracting insects to your garden, you’ll also be naturally attracting birds.

The video at Blooming Prairie Nursery’s Facebook page will show the spectacular results of Bob’s efforts. (link)

 

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