Restoring environments to their natural habitats has been a growing concern over the last few decades. Thousands of cities across the country have been embarking on a mission of urban naturalization. For those of you who do not know, urban naturalization is an ecologically based approach to landscape management that seeks to restore environmental integrity to urban landscapes through the use of plant species native to the region.
Over the years, residents of Southern California have been taking natural plant life out of their residential and urban areas and planting more eye-appealing (ornamental) plant life. However, what they are not realizing when doing so is just how harmful this is to the ecosystem. One way to prevent this problem is by being aware of and removing invasive plants.
Invasive plants are a distinct group of weeds that occur in habitats that are not their own. These plants are usually inadvertently introduced to a habitat and can either grow or die. Depending on the plants ability to adapt to an environment, invasive plants can thrive and destroy native plants, crops, and gardens. The most common way invasive plants spread are through people buying and planting ornamental plants. The problems isn’t the ornamental plant themselves, it is the chance that invasive plant seeds can be attached to them. The most important aspect of these invasive plants is their ability to adapt, survive and take over in a new environment.
According to the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources, invasive plants cause ecological disruption to natural ecosystems, and the severity of the impact varies considerably based upon the plant species and the area being invaded. California has the greatest number of natural plant species diversity of any state in the U.S. with over 5,000 species.
There are many benefits to restoring plant life into their natural habitats. Oregon has done a great job in starting the process with urban naturalization projects such as the park blocks in Downtown Portland. It is time for our Californian neighbors to follow Oregon’s lead. For more information please go to http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74139.html and see what you can do to make a difference.