Related topics: invasive species

As bumblebee diets narrow, ours could too

There has been a lot of buzz about honeybees' failing health because they pollinate our produce. Less well known is how critical bumblebees are for some of our favorite foods. And their numbers are also rapidly declining.

Native forest plants rebound when invasive shrubs are removed

Removing invasive shrubs to restore native forest habitat brings a surprising result, according to Penn State researchers, who say desired native understory plants display an unexpected ability and vigor to recolonize open ...

How birdwatchers can help threatened bird populations

The types of birds coming through your neighborhood are probably changing, and so is the timing of their migrations. Birdwatchers noticing these differences are on the front line in figuring out how climate change and more ...

Science-based guidelines for building a bee-friendly landscape

Bees are critical members of the ecosystem: 75% of leading food crops have some level of dependency on pollinators. However, native bee populations are struggling because of loss of habitat and food, often caused by urban ...

Invasive crayfish sabotages its own success, study says

Since they were first released as live bait in the mid-twentieth century, rusty crayfish have roamed lake bottoms in northern Wisconsin, gobbling native fish eggs, destroying aquatic plants, and generally wreaking havoc on ...

Coffee for the birds

Coffee grown under a tree canopy is promoted as good habitat for birds, but recent University of Delaware research shows that some of these coffee farms may not be as friendly to our feathered friends as advertised.

Urban biodiversity to lower chronic disease

Replanting urban environments with native flora could be a cost effective way to improve public health because it will help 'rewild' the environmental and human microbiota, University of Adelaide researchers say.

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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:

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA