From official eradication campaigns to private control in gardens, some species considered to be harmful die hard! The force and negativity employed in this very powerful term offers all the possibilities of drift and cruelty on animals that do nothing but have a crucial part in the balance of ecosystems. Let’s learn to look at them from a different perspective!
Fear, mistress of all follies
The term ‘harmfulopens the lexical field of fear. In the common unconscious, this very strong term implies notions of dangerousness, destruction… What is harmful is therefore necessarily harmful, but harmful for whom and for what?
Without entering into philosophical debates, Man tends to centralize in his small world. Everything must necessarily revolve around his person, nature must serve humanity; What is disturbing in her must systematically be eradicated … The same observation is also made in the garden.
The result is what we know! Insects and birds are increasingly rare, the figures are more than alarming with a decline of more than 75% of the insect population in 27 years in protected areas (1). Many birds are insectivorous or granivorous, we will not be surprised by their decline as spectacular as it is worrying and the appalling consequences on ecosystems (2). However pesticides continue to be spilled in abundance to fight against the famous ‘pests’.
What about clear cuts in the forests, deforestation carried out for the benefit of remunerative monocultures, green deserts and many other collective unconsciousness practiced all over the world. All this very quietly justified by the omnipotence of Man over all the other species which are there only to serve him and are only tolerated, if at a given moment, they are considered useful. Status that could of course change at will as needed and regardless of the impact on the fragile natural balance that surrounds us.
Result of this focus on humans: the state of biodiversity in the world and on a smaller scale in gardens, is more than worrying. We invent drones to pollinate plants after having eradicated pollinating insects without shocking the populations!
Although the impact of neonicotinoids on the environment has been repeatedly proven, France has just published a law authorizing them again for the sugar beet sector until 2023 (3) by omitting in passing the public health problem caused by the massive absorption of sugar by our societies.
It is time to take the problem inside out and consider Man as part of a balanced whole where all forms of life have a usefulness, more or less visible, but very real. The decentration of man in favor of his integration into nature would thus make it possible to stop considering creatures as ‘harmful’.
A better definition of the term ‘harmful’
As we have seen, fear governs the term ‘harmful’. A list of animals is published each year by prefectural decree authorizing the destruction of certain species under the guise of safety and public health but also to prevent damage to agricultural or forestry activities.
Basically, these animals are considered threats to humans. Among them, Fox, which nevertheless regulates the population of small mammals eager for crops, the jay, an essential bird in tree reproduction, but also the rare rook raven, the foot, the starling, the weasel, la martre…
Note that officially in the texts, we no longer speak of ‘harmful‘ most ‘animals likely to cause damage‘ !
Pests in the garden
In a garden, just like in nature abused by humans, animals considered to be harmful develop excessively when the balance between predators and prey is upset by bad practices.
Patience and observation are two essential keys to allow a return to normal in a garden.
Fallow, even in a small part of the garden, can help restore this fragile balance and bring back a whole missing population. Diversified hedges composed flowering shrubs and producing berries, water points, or a few small piles of branches leaving this and that will help you in the same way.
Batrachians, reptiles, spiders, insects and mammals inhabit very specific ecological niches and help to regulate large numbers of pests.
Keep an old tree to shelter small raptors which will regulate the populations of voles, build a dry stone wall or a basin to shelter a fauna useful for the fight against the bugs which attack your cultures.
Prefer plant associations and repellent liquid manure phytosanitary products, plant umbellifers to attract many auxiliaries, invite ladybugs in your garden to fight against aphids in a natural way!
Take care of the soil with green manure plantation, mulching and to organic amendments. A soil rich in life is naturally more productive, the plants grow better there, they are more vigorous and therefore less sensitive to various attacks.
Thus, the ‘predator / prey’ food chain will not be broken and your garden will find a satisfactory balance. The word ‘harmful’ can be banned from it, but for that, learning, patience and observation are essential; Values somewhat forgotten these days!
Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.
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