Every year we look forward to seeing the leaves change color, and fall gracefully to the ground. The hues of red, orange, and yellow are synonymous with fall for this very reason. So why is it that so many humans insist on ridding their lawns of these beautiful and valuable leaves? Many don’t realize that beyond aesthetics, fallen leaves harbor life. This article by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation shows the 
importance of leaf litter during our colder months.
As lawns and impacted areas take up more and more of our overall landscape, many species depend more and more on our yard areas for survival. It is important to consider leaving a layer of overwinter shelter for pollinator insects and other invertebrates. Not only do fallen leaves provide shelter, but they also act as a form of mulch, retaining moisture, preventing stormwater runoff, and helping to keep “weeds” at bay. If we each set aside a portion of our yard where we “leave the leaves” and let nature do its job, we can help stop the precipitous loss of our migratory song birds and other species. Insects are critical for the fertilization of plants and trees, and they serve as the mainstay food of most species of birds. Our biodiversity depends on the healthy natural cycle of leaves. 

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