What’s at Stake?

We’re not promoting native plants just because they’re nice to look at. We’re fighting for our lives!

All of us have a stake in what becomes of the native flora. Right now, they’re protected in nature preserves and state parks, but public lands make up only 2% of Indiana. Preserving these areas is good, but not good enough. The vast majority of native flora is on private lands, which are subject to development or may be overrun by invasive plants.  And native plants are largely absent from lawns and yards in cities and suburbs.

We need a critical mass of native plants, in interconnected corridors throughout the state, to sustain the web of life. Our land, our wildlife, and we ourselves depend on it.

Biodiversity at Risk

Our public spaces and residential neighborhoods are designed with a very limited palette of plant species, mostly from far-away lands in Europe and Asia. Our native insect species, which can eat only very specific plants in their larval stages, are starved out when they encounter only exotic vegetation. Those native insect species serve as the main food source for migrating birds—no native flora means no native insects, and that means no migrating birds.  

We need native plants, and lots of kinds of native plants, to sustain life in our ecosystem. Biodiversity has been Nature’s way of ensuring the survival of species. We need to bring back the variety of native plants that has sustained life for millions of years.

Losses to Development

Sadly, fewer of our citizens know what we’re losing to development. Young people have not bonded with our wild places and our native plants, so they don’t know what they’ll miss when it’s gone. Those of us who know how badly threatened our native plants are need to share our understanding and our passion with others, especially with those who make our laws and who influence the landscaping industry. It’s going to take a concerted effort to make people see what’s at stake.

Advance of  Invasives

In many areas, Indiana native plants are being choked out by exotic invasive plants that were introduced years ago by well-intentioned agricultural agencies or by the nursery trade. The natives cannot compete with these plants, which run rampant through our woods, fields, and waterways, further threatening biodiversity. We need to be able to identify invasive plants where we live and play, and stop their spread where we can.  

Habitat Fragmentation

Making connections has never been more urgent. We are losing species simply because the areas available to them are few and far between. Scientists are proving that isolated preserves cannot sustain animal species through the natural ups and downs of their population curves. We can help by planting in our backyards and cities the native plants that sustain animal species, creating functioning wildlife corridors.  

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