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All the Life Thriving Among the Dead: Storied cemeteries strive to improve their biodiversity and climate impacts

All the Life Thriving Among the Dead: Storied cemeteries strive to improve their biodiversity and climate impacts

Once upon a time, in early-19th-century America, people didn’t frequent parks; they recreated at cemeteries. Thanks to the so-called rural cemetery movement, expansive “groves of the dead” were filled with curated collections of flowering bushes and magnificent trees. Sprawling across hundreds of acres just outside cities, they were designed as naturalistic oases to simultaneously help strolling urbanites commune with dearly departeds and connect with their lost country roots.

Even today, visitors to the first of America’s rural cemeteries—Mount Auburn near Boston (built in 1831), Laurel Hill in Philadelphia (1836), and Green-Wood in Brooklyn (1838)—can find respite, shade, robins perched rotundly on headstones, and Edward Gorey-esque panoramas that don’t quite jibe with contemporary notions of either greenspaces or graveyards. These cemeteries also offer another bona fide—species diversity. As our planet loses ever more forest and grassland to development and industrial agriculture, cemeteries, along with oddball land parcels like highway median strips and churchyards, become increasingly vital. Even “regular” cemeteries offer flora to shelter myriad creatures, platforms from which to scout for food, and nooks for cavity nesters.

Read more here: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/all-life-thrivin…