MONTREAL -- It's that time of year when leaves can take over our lawns - and our lives.

But if you've had it up to here with raking, blowing and otherwise disposing of that fallen foliage, a Canadian conservation organization has a suggestion you're sure to like: just (don't) do it.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada, a not-for-profit land conservation group, is enouraging the public to just let falling leaves be.

It's not (just) laziness, the NCC argues - it's an environmentally friendly act that will provide a hospitable habitat for backyard diversity over the winter.

“Backyard animals, such as toads, frogs and many pollinators, once lived in forests and have adapted to hibernate under leaves,” said Dan Kraus, the NCC's senior conservation biologist. “The leaves provide an insulating blanket that can help protect these animals from very cold temperatures and temperature fluctuations during the winter.”

Leaving plant stalks, dead branches and shrubs in one's yard or garden through the winter months can also help provide an inviting winter habitat for native insects and birds, Kraus added.

That's not the only benefit of all that non-raking, the NCC says: As leaves decompose, they become mulch that helps enrich soil. A light covering of leaves - as opposed to thick piles of them - will improve garden and lawn health, the NCC says.

The decomposing leaves can also create a "carbon sink" in your backyard - with the leaves' carbon getting stored in your soil.

“While it’s great for cities to provide collection programs to compost leaves, the most energy-efficient solution is to allow nature to do its thing and for the leaves to naturally break down in your yard,” Kraus said.