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  • WL CLIMATE STRIKE STUDENTS

Native Plants and Biodiversity

Updated: Feb 12

Background


Indiana’s habitats and native species have been heavily affected by human activity in the past couple centuries. In the 1800s, 90% of Indiana was covered in forests, but now the number has dropped to 26%. With the loss of natural forests and wetlands, biodiversity has been greatly impacted. The introduction of invasive species has also further strained the already struggling native plants. This makes it very important to promote biodiversity and protect native species that are at risk.


Promoting biodiversity occurs through multiple efforts. Legislature is very important in regulating the sales and further spread of invasive species through economic activity. Knox County’s ban on 64 invasive species has prevented 900 sales of invasive plants. Nature reserves and land trusts are also vital to protecting habitats from development. On the local level, education and participation are important to supporting biodiversity. Events are held to teach citizens to recognize invasive species and help remove them. Individuals can also participate by planting native species in their gardens and avoid spreading invasive species when they hike or swim.


The benefits of biodiversity are numerous. Supporting native species protects the food chain because local herbivores are adapted to native plants. Protecting biodiversity also protects ponds and lakes.


Instructions


There are many ways you can promote biodiversity in your own area.


Prevent the spread of invasive species

  • Clean hiking and fishing gear to not transport invasive species

  • Clean your boots before you hike in a new area to get rid of any seeds and pathogens

  • Clean your boat before transporting it to another body of water

  • Don’t move firewood because it can harbor forest pests

  • Clean boats before transferring to another body of water

  • Check pet’s paws for invasive species when outside with them

  • Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait, or exotic animals into the wild


Reach out to local nature reserves or land trusts.

  1. Research nature reserves in your area

  2. Visit these areas and observe the native plants

  3. Volunteer at your local park or wildlife area to help remove invasive species


Local Organizations:


Learn how to identify invasive species and how to remove them.


Common Invasive Species:


Japanese Honeysuckle



Garlic mustard



More Invasive Species:

https://www.in.gov/dnr/naturepreserve/4736.htm

https://www.entm.purdue.edu/iisc/invasiveplants.html


Plant Native Species

  1. Make sure to not plant invasive species in your yard or garden

  2. Talk to nurseries when choosing plants to choose native plants

  3. Choose a native plant that is suitable for the area you have space to plant

Common Native Species:


Virginia Bluebells



Bloodroot



Tulip Tree (Tree of Indiana)



Eastern Redbud



More Native Species:

https://www.indianawildlife.org/wildlife/native-plants/


Resources:



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