Prior to Euro-American settlement in the late 1800’s, tallgrass prairie, savanna and woodlands covered the Iowa landscape for thousands of years. Jim and Julie’s wooded backyard contains many elements of a native woodland ecosystem, and with the help of local experts, they are steadily working to restore the health of this small piece of land that is a part of our larger community.
Is it practical to rebuild native woodland on an urban lot? What hurdles must be overcome? What are the benefits – to the owners? To the neighborhood?, to the city?, to the environment? While still in the initial stages of restoration, early answers to these questions can be seen in their backyard as it becomes one of a growing number of authentic experiments in land-use design and practice.