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The Fascination of (Native) Plants


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Gardeners need to understand the scope of plant extinction and how all native animals depend on the evolved species of a given landscape. They need to see the garden more as a habitat than a collection of alien plant "pets". Growing efforts need to consider the food and shelter value of plants to birds and the insects they eat. Features the work of Doug Tallamy and the Habitat Network.

Published in: Environment
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The Fascination of (Native) Plants

  1. 1. The Fascination of Plants
  2. 2. Based on science…the best available method for determining facts
  3. 3. Plants are much more than objects for our use or beauty
  4. 4. Most people don’t know plants They see a wall of green Dominated by invasive plants Native plant community
  5. 5. -We need plants in every way…but they don’t need us. -Responsible for one of the six known mass extinction events -Every single cell in a plant can make a new plant -Plants have vastly longer life spans -Plants have self-recognition -Plants communicate with other species
  6. 6. -Make food out of sunlight -Create atmosphere -Created oil -Are the basis, directly or indirectly for all other forms of life -Allelopathy
  7. 7. Plants are chemical producers • Because they can’t run away • How they communicate • Defense • Make site more suitable (change soil) • Call other species for help • Offense: take more territory • Every plant wants to rule the world! (don’t we all?)
  8. 8. Flowering plants and the animals that use them evolved together over millennia Many fit together like lock and key
  9. 9. We should ask ourselves, what is the role of the human in the natural world ?
  10. 10. Using the Earth View app on Chrome Shows a satellite photo of the planet With each tab opened in Chrome: It shows how much humans have altered the planet in every type of terrain, even in deserts and water.
  11. 11. Desiree Narango Doug Tallamy (next 3 slides Desiree’s)
  12. 12. Basswood American elm Black cherry Willow oaks Pin oaks
  13. 13. Japanese Maples Silktree Saucer Magnolia Leyland Cypress Ginkgo Black Poplar Crape Myrtles
  14. 14. Chickadee study • Star is the nest, darker blue where they spent more time. • No time in non native plants • Require 5-9000 caterpillars to raise young from egg to fledging • How little we know our immediate neighbors! • They can’t give birdseed to their chicks.
  15. 15. Doug Tallamy
  16. 16. 1 in 4 plants in Canada is from somewhere else Environment Canada (study from the ‘90s)
  17. 17. 1 in 5 plants in the world is facing extinction Kew SOTWP
  18. 18. 230 species of birds in decline in N. America Many of them migratory That is 30% of them Cornell Inst. Ornithology
  19. 19. IUCN
  20. 20. IUCN
  21. 21. What makes Nova Scotia Unique? Or any place, for that matter?
  22. 22. 100 years after sheep grazing
  23. 23. A rare, relatively pristine beach in Cape Breton
  24. 24. Outstanding fall colours of native vegetation …are a part of our economy.
  25. 25. The Extinction Crisis is not “over there” somewhere. It is right here. Some threatened plants of our ecology….
  26. 26. Coreopsis rosea
  27. 27. Cyprepedium regale
  28. 28. Lilium canadense
  29. 29. Who will help home remain home? Who Speaks for nature? -Politicians?? -Companies? -Government?
  30. 30. Pollinators AND herbivorous Insects
  31. 31. Moths 12,000 and Butterflies 825 (not including Hawaii) ALL require plants to eat Many host-specific to particular native plants.
  32. 32. • Quiz: what do hummingbirds eat? • What do most birds in this part of the world eat? • Next slide is some of our moths, who we destroy wholesale with our lights. • Following slide insectivorous birds. (by Doug Tallamy and Desiree Narango)
  33. 33. Bev Wigney
  34. 34. Tallamy
  35. 35. Oak,Cherry, Birch, and Willow are keystone species here
  36. 36. No study has shown a lack of effect on these critical insects when non-natives replace natives. We are finishing a study now showing a 22 fold reduction in caterpillar abundance and a 33 fold reduction in caterpillar biomass when natives and aliens are compared. Doug Tallamy
  37. 37. Tallamy
  38. 38. Studies have shown that physical structure in plants is also essential to the rest of the food web. Linda Chalker Scott Greatly increased surface area creates habitat for insects. Birds and insects need food, cover, nesting places, and defense from predators. These come from shrubs and trees.
  39. 39. Raise your hand if you have seen these in the wild? Some make good garden plants, some don’t. Do NOT take illegally from the wild without a permit.
  40. 40. Indian Pipe Monotropa uniflora
  41. 41. Impatiens capensis Jewelweed
  42. 42. Cyprepedium aucale David Quimby
  43. 43. Non-native: Woolly Mullein Verbascum thapsus Will it be invasive? -invasive in similar climates -adaptable to soil type -seeds live in soil 100 years -many, many seeds -has uses for man so is widely planted -escapes are noticed too late to economically deal with them.
  44. 44. Need to document change Be informed on the issue Teach others Protect Natural Heritage
  45. 45. invasiveplantscapebreton
  46. 46. Maple Birch Willow Poplar Many species Asian Long Horned Beetle
  47. 47. Improving the world through your own action
  48. 48. In bite sized mindful actions. Right. Here.
  49. 49. Start by Learning
  50. 50. Free resources
  51. 51. Be a naturalist gardener
  52. 52. WIN: You Feel better about yourself Deeper understanding of your world Access to the latest information Ways to link with others A positive impact on the world Save time and money Dimension in the garden
  53. 53. WIN: Science (mankind) -Better understanding of how humans use “their” spaces -Less destructive gardening methods -Ecology is a “young” science -Avert local extinction
  54. 54. WIN: Local Plants and Animals -Create habitat corridors for migrating species -Higher priority placed on undisturbed land Biological webs continue to function
  55. 55. WIN: Our Children Don’t ask them if they want to go outside, both of you go
  56. 56. Actions -Prioritize unique and undisturbed areas and protect them -Examine how we can improve land that has been disturbed -Determine what we have the most control over -Modify how we garden and live -Return to natives, shrubs/trees -Garden Legacy
  57. 57. Suggestions -Explore the world of natives -Try a few -Diversify up and down -Try to get genetically wild plants (from - reputable sources) -15’ rule -Think about your garden legacy!
  58. 58. Keep a closed system if possible
  59. 59. KNOW THY PLANT • Plant lust • Don’t go home and know nothing about it • Research other gardeners’ experience, its invasive potential, and its native habitat • Monitor your property closely for change • Research new plants that appear • Beware of well meaning friends bearing plants!
  60. 60. Choose plants in this order Native genetically diverse seed Native potted Native Cultivar Native regional Non-native “Friendly Weed” Thug
  61. 61. Try to leave native ground if at all possible Choose sites for projects that are already disturbed.
  62. 62. Plan Your Garden Legacy!
  63. 63. Plan realistically for the life you have Informal Meadow by a busy Professional wit Carpal Tunnel
  64. 64. Gardeners can be critical to Helping save the world’s biodiversity by: -Learning the plants -Learning their utility by other creatures -Teaching others about plants -Growing native plants -Some plants extinct in the wild exist today in gardens!
  65. 65. And we need to teach that to our kids!
  66. 66. For more information focus on Cape Breton: Facebook: Cape Breton Invasive Plants discussion/latest info. Cape Breton Garden and Botany Lovers science based, beyond “pretty” gardening. A Little Less Litter pick up an average of a couple of pieces of trash a day (a bag if at the beach) GROUP: Baddeck online Garden Club Pinterest: Invasive Plants of Cape Breton, Native Plants Cape Breton, and Weeds Common and Annoying photos, descriptions, eradication methods, garden worthy natives, and garden weeds (bird study, sign-up)