Little garden with native plants

The three principles to promote native ecosystems in your backyard

In *All, Environmental Stewardship, Holidays by AgIsAmerica

To honor Earth Day and help support our planet’s environment, we would like to share some principles that Oregon State University has put together for ensuring the health of native ecosystems in your own yard or garden.

Native plants and wildlife are those which exist naturally in a given territory. They share complex interrelationships that have evolved over the course of thousands of years, and it’s precisely this evolution which makes them so well-adapted to the natural environmental conditions of the area. They also each play a unique role in maintaining this same ecosystem.

Unfortunately, these ecosystems are now in danger thanks to human-driven development and land use. Many native ecosystems have been destroyed to create urban areas, and sometimes have been replaced with non-native plants. When invasive, the plants become established in that region and may compromise the ecosystem’s diversity.

The following are key steps to promoting a native ecosystem:

  1. Know the four basic needs that almost every living being needs to create a habitat: food, cover, water, and space. Food may come from the native plants you plant, or by adding some extra bird feeders. Water, on the other hand, is the most important habitat feature; if you place this space close to a pond, creek or wetland, you are aiming for success.
  2. Habitat diversity: you can encourage diversity by introducing different plant species of different maturities.
  3. Remove invasive species and replace them with a variety of native plants suitable to your area’s soil and water conditions.

Native plants also offer some benefits to the gardener; since they are specially adapted to the local climate, they require less care and tend to be hardier – which among other things, reduces the need for supplementary watering.

This Earth Day, you can do your part to restore a native ecosystem right in your backyard!

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