What is BIODIVERSITY?
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Greater biodiversity implies greater health. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species. (Wikipedia)
"That most of our ecosystems are no longer rich is beyond debate, and today, most of the surviving remnants of the native flora that formed them have been finished off by development or invaded by alien (non-native, often invasive) plant species.” ~ Douglas Tallamy in Bringing Nature Home
"Somehow along the way we have come to expect perfection in our gardens: the plastic quality of artificial flowers is now seen as normal and healthy. It is neither. Instead, it is a clear sign of a garden so contrived that it is no longer a living community, so unbalanced that any life form other than plants is viewed as an enemy and quickly eliminated. Today’s gardeners are so concerned about the health of their plants that they run for the spray can at the first sign of an insect. Ironically, a sterile garden is one teetering on the brink of destruction. It can no longer function as a dynamic community of interacting organisms, all working smoothly to perpetuate their interactions. Its checks and balances are gone. Instead, the sterile garden’s continued existence depends entirely on the frantic efforts of the gardener alone" ~ Douglas Tallamy In Bringing Nature Home
Do non-native plants add to our nations biodiversity? -- Initally, yes. Long term, no. The biggest reason that they do not add to our biodivesity is that they do not feed anything (other than being an occasional nectar source). Native plant materials evolved with native insects. These associations took thousands of years to form and they don't change overnight, or even in 100 years. Think of it this way- Native plants feed native insects. Native insects feed native birds, reptiles, and other small critters. Small critters feed larger critters..... so more native plants = healthier food chain.
How does Biodiversity affect me and my garden? -- In the continental US, we have modified 95-97% of the land. 41.4% of that land is in agriculture. 53.6-55.6% of that land is in suburbia. The human population is expected to reach 7 billion by the year 2045. Water, clean water, is already and is going to remain a major issue. As landowners, and homeowners, we can make a difference. With over 50% of the land in suburbia- if every homeower planted one native tree, one native, shrub, one native grass, and one native perennial- we could start to make a difference! Cleaner air, cleaner water, healthier ecosystems, healthier food chain, healthier, happier people!
"The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time" ` Terry Tempest Williams, Naturalist, Writer and Environmenal Activist
"The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without a change in our thinking" ~ Einstein