Native plants: why they are critical for healthy forests and ecosystems
Native plants are indigenous to their local area and provide tremendous benefits to their native environments.1 Sounds simple, but in fact the systems that make native plants so important are complex. A plant is native to a certain area for a reason; it has adapted over thousands of years to form special relationships with other plants, insects, bacteria, fungi, and animals around it.2 As a result, specialized interactions between native plants and animals keep our eco-systems functioning.3
Why we should care
We depend on nature, and therefore we need healthy ecosystems to survive. An abundance of native plants will transform our ravines– it is our plan for survival.
We don’t realize how much we depend on the relationships between all of our native species. In an urban environment, maintaining healthy ecosystems is challenging because we introduce many harmful non-native species through spillover from ornamental gardens. In order to maintain healthy Toronto forests, we must work together to re-nativize our ravines and natural areas. Learn why ravines matter.
For example, look how native Woodland sunflowers interact with native Sweat bees:4
Planting natives on your property is extremely important for wildlife and is a necessary step of ravine restoration.
1 – National Wildlife Federation. (n.d.) Native plants. Retrieved from: https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/about/native-plants
2 – National Wildlife Federation. (n.d.) Native plants. Retrieved from: https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/about/native-plants
3 – Tallamy, D. (2020). Garden for wildlife: natures best hope [online lecture]. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDRGryX1uVI
4 – Credit Valley Conservation. (2017). Native plants for pollinators. Retrieved from: https://cvc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/17-uo-nativeplantsforpollinators-booklet-v8-web.pdf