Related topics: invasive species

Fungus fights oxygen-sucking water weed

In parts of the South, there are stories about an invasive floating weed, which forms such a dense mass that it enables small animals to walk across water.

When invasive plants take root, native animals pay the price

Imagine a new breed of pirate not only able to sail the high seas, but to exploit nearly any mode of transportation without detection. And these raiders' ambitions have little to do with amassing treasure and everything to ...

What are native grasslands, and why do they matter?

Coalition minister Angus Taylor is under scrutiny for possibly intervening in the clearing of grasslands in the southern highlands of New South Wales. Leaving aside the political dimensions, it's worth asking: why do these ...

Megadrought caused mega biodiversity loss

Researchers at CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, have painstakingly reconstructed the nation's 'once in a century drought' in the early 1900s, revealing that it caused mass ecosystem collapse and dramatic declines ...

The chemical language of plants depends on context

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, studied the ecological function of linalool, a naturally abundant volatile organic compound, in wild Nicotiana attenuata tobacco plants. ...

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Native plant

A Native plant is one that develops, occurs naturally, or has existed for many years in an area. These can be trees, flowers, grasses or any other plants. Some of them may have adapted to a very limited range. They may have adjusted to living in unusual environments or under very harsh climates or exceptional soil conditions. Although some types of plants for these reasons exist only within a very limited range, others can live in diverse areas or by adaptation to different surroundings.

Native plants form a part of a cooperative environment, or plant community, where several species or environments have developed to support them. This could be a case where a plant exists because a certain animal pollinates the plant and that animal exists because it relies on the pollen as a source of food. Some native plants rely on natural conditions, such as occasional wildfires, to release their seeds or to provide a fertile environment where their seedlings can become established. They may adapt well where they originated, but people who find them very pretty or useful may introduce them elsewhere. However, the notion that the introduction of exotic species by humans is a potent threat to biodiversity is generally fallacious except in the very near term. In longer time frames, this sort of introduction has been shown to increase biological diversity (biodiversity) and can be beneficial: "The current anthropogenic extinction event is accompanied by extensive anthropogenic dispersal-a novel phenomenon absent from past extinction events. This may blunt the effects of extinction on higher taxa, particularly if we proceed with intent" (Theodoropoulos & Calkins, 1990).

The rich diversity of unique species across many parts of the world exists only because bioregions are separated by barriers, particularly large rivers, seas, oceans, mountains and deserts. Humans, migratory birds, ocean currents, etc. can introduce species that have never met in their evolutionary history, on varying time scales ranging from days to decades (Long, 1981)(Vermeij, 1991). Some have suggested that humans are moving species at an unprecedented rate that is unnatural, unsustainable, and/or harmful, even causing "impossible" migrations that could never occur in nature, causing a potential disruption of the world's ecosystems, which could become dominated by a relatively few, aggressive, cosmopolitan "super-species". However, anthropogenic (human-assisted) dispersal can in no way be distinguished from natural dispersal, and in fact, this "increased rate of anthropogenic dispersal is a natural corollary of increased anthropogenic disturbance, and is not a harmful process, but a beneficial mitigation (Theodoropoulos, 2003).

Native plant activists support the introduction of ecological concepts and practices by gardeners, especially in public spaces. The identification of local plant communities provides a basis for their work. Examples can be seen in the California Native Plant movement:

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