Why Use Native Plant Materials?
A successful post-fire restoration project with native grasses to stabilize soils and prevent erosion.
Native plant materials are used for a variety of purposes, such as stabilizing stream banks and floodplains, reducing soil erosion and sedimentation, reducing the spread of non-native invasive plants, improving wildlife and fisheries habitat, and mitigating the effects of wildfire and other types of disturbances such as illegal off-road vehicle use.
Native plant materials are advantageous because they:
- Are unlikely to be invasive or overly competitive with other native plants
- Return to or maintain more normal fire intervals and fuel loadings
Provide food sources (nectar, pollen, seeds, leaves, and stems) for native butterflies, insects, birds, and other animals
Streamside restoration planting of various hardwood species. Vexar tubing is used to protect young seedlings from browsing by cattle and big game.
- Reduce energy consumption and pollution (limited need for mowing)
- Reduce the need for pesticides
- Enhance aesthetics and visual quality
- Protect at-risk species
- Protect biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage
Aerial application of native seed to prevent erosion and weed invasion after a wildfire.
When selecting native plant materials, it is important to have knowledge of the geographic origin and genetic diversity of the plant source. A good practice is to choose plant sources from an area that matches the restoration site conditions as closely as possible. This helps ensure project success because the stock will be adapted to local climate and soil conditions, and more resistant to damage from freezing, drought, common diseases, and herbivores. The maintenance of genetic diversity in plant sources will enable plants to adapt to changing climatic and environmental conditions. Plant populations with low genetic diversity may be more susceptible to pathogens and environmental stresses, and less competitive with introduced invasive species.