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The Many Benefits of Native Trees and Plants

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As the weather continues to warm up, the presence of life becomes more apparent outside. Insects are buzzing, flowers are blooming, and trees are budding. While each plant holds its own unique beauty and a specific role within certain environments, sometimes the plants that surround us don’t fulfill the ecological requirements for the ecosystem that they reside in.

With the development of major cities and the expansion of outlying communities has come the unfortunate deforestation of many native trees, grasses, and other vegetation. Areas that were once occupied by native plants — those that occur naturally in a specific region — are now replaced with non-native vegetation (plants which have been introduced to an area outside of their native range, either intentionally or on accident).

Unfortunately, these exotic replacements do not share the same ecological responsibility of the indigenous ancestors. Through this imbalanced substitution, communities are losing irreplaceable vegetation and understory, which can have detrimental impact on many aspects of life for the local community and the natural environment.

People may wonder why native plants are so important and why an "off-brand" import is not an adequate replacement? The answer is simple: native vegetation fulfills environmental needs that go so much further than just the beautiful flower seen in full bloom. Plants within a specific environment are meant to satisfy specific ecological and infrastructural needs, and when we replace native species with non-native species, we lose this natural equilibrium. Some examples of the essential functions that are fulfilled by native vegetation include increased biodiversity, the presence of appropriate food and shelter for local wildlife, and improved soil structure.

And these three elements are just the beginning of a long list of how native species and natural habitats benefit our communities. Natural habitats also help to increase air filtration, improve storm-water management, reduce runoff, and decrease temperatures of suburban and urban areas. Increasing the presence of more trees and other vegetation can also have a profound impact on the daily lives of the local community by reducing stress, improving heart rates, and helping the community relax.

The addition of native vegetation is not only extremely beneficial to the local environment and the overall population, but it is extremely easy to accomplish. If you are interested in adding more native vegetation to your land or would like more information on what native trees could be the perfect fit for your property, contact the experts at Donegan’s Tree Service to determine the best species for you!

Crys Bauer, B.S. in Sustainable Resource Management & Donegan’s Tree Service team writer

Jim Donegan