who we are, what we do

who we are, what we do

Marc and Candi Pastorek are business partners in Pastorek Habitats, a Louisiana horticulture and environmental consulting firm specializing in the re-creation of natural grassland plant communities through the use of native seed. Prairie-like landscapes and grassland gardens, are attempts at mimicking the make-up of our historical landscape. They can be readily produced and enjoyed indefinitely. Prairie meadows are biologically rich in species diversity and provide a number ecological services, including wildlife enhancement, storm water and floodplain management, and soil hydrology restoration. Native grasslands assist greatly when it comes to climate change by sequestering one to two tons of carbon per acre each year.

Native prairies have no downside, a zero-negative effect, only a multitude of benefits. They are one of the answers to the many questions we face ecologically. An integrated ecologically based sustainable infrastructure is made up of many systems that provide ecological services. Biologically rich prairie meadow landscapes are one of these systems.

Native prairies are highly adaptable communities of plants that take extreme soil conditions, in fact the more extreme the better. Roots are the key to the roll grasslands play in changing the ecological value of your land. Roots make up 70% of the biomass of a prairie landscape. Only 30% of the biomass is above ground. Roots grow very deeply with some species penetrating as much 15  feet deep – even in clay soils. There are more than 300 perennial species and they have as different a root structure as the plants do above ground. This creates a tight web, and a dense mass that fills the soil. Each year a great portion, as much as 60% of the root system, dies and grows new root mass back each growing season. This leaves decaying roots to return nutrients to the soil and leaves porous channels that storm water seeps down through, reaching the depths of the root zone. Prairies are giant sponges that soak up rainwater and act as conduits for gravity-filtering water as it percolates to the aquifers deep down below.

Prairie landscapes restored via seed are biodiversity ecosystem gardens that never quite reach the level of diversity and richness of the untouched grasslands of long ago, but they are excellent and substantial substitutes. They require extremely low-input and provide highly sustainable landscapes for the Gulf coastal region.

Our business was originally inspired by the pioneering prairie research work of biologists Dr. Charles M. Allen and Dr. Malcolm F. Vidrine after Marc first visited the Cajun Prairie Restoration Project site in Eunice, Louisiana in the summer of 1993.

https://www.cajunprairie.org/

Over the last 20-plus years, we’ve developed and perfected practical methods for collecting, processing, and storing local genotypic prairie seed and providing this seed to the general public to be used in landscape projects of varying types and sizes. Our unique seed mixes consist of seed of native perennial wildflowers, native grasses, and “grass-likes” that are genetically adaptable. Our work focus areas include the Coastal prairies of Texas and Louisiana and the Long Leaf pine herbaceous plant community ground cover that is historically typical to the Gulf coast, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and east Texas.

We offer our special seed for those interested in restoring the biological integrity of the landscape which in turn restores soil hydrology and eventually re-establishes the food web: the re-building of food chains. Southeastern native grasslands are some of the most threatened ecosystems in the North America, considered by biologists to be critically endangered. These imperiled grassland communities provide essential habitat for many rare and typically unheard of and  often unseen insect species – Butterfies and Bees, Beetles and Grasshoppers, a multitude of insect wildlife.

Prairie grasslands are also very beautiful indeed, and extraordinarily interesting to study over time. Seeded prairie landscapes change over the years and through the seasons, almost daily, providing marvelous opportunities for outdoor entertainment, intrigue and excitement.

Let us know what your goals are and we will gladly assist you in producing your landscape.

Call Marc directly at 504-296-8162

see the homepage link to about our local-ecotype seed

Marc at Cajun Prairie Gardens with Big Bluestem grass, photo by Malcolm Vidrine

Copyright 2020 MG Pastorek