The creation of this website lays the foundation for our educational and advocacy efforts.
Why is it needed?
The importance of native plants to stable ecosystems is not yet well understood among gardeners, land managers, or the public as a whole. This is, in part, because for most of the past few centuries it has been an accepted practice for botanists, scientists, and others to transport plant (and animal) specimens around the globe for ornamental and commercial purposes. Moving species to new continents or distant places was not anticipated as problematic, and only relatively recently have we humans begun to see the unintended consequences. Using language as our clue, the use of the term “invasive” to describe either plants or animals probably dates to the twentieth century. Awareness of the value of native ecosystems to biodiversity is relatively recent. Conservation biology is a young and emerging science.
Our land use patterns have also changed significantly as development has accelerated in the past hundreds of years. No longer do we have large tracts of uninterrupted New England woodlands and meadows, full of indigenous plants and animals living in careful ecological balance. Instead, we have an increasing predominance of land used intensively for human purposes— for housing, commerce, industry and institutions. The majority of our lands in the state are either intensively developed for these purposes, or impacted by this development. Hence, the land management decisions that each of us makes in the context of our human use— in our gardens, public parks, and in the landscaping of all places— have far more importance to the health of our ecosystem as a whole than they did in the past when our human footprint was much smaller.
The purpose of our website is to serve as an “information portal” for all who garden or manage our lands throughout the Commonwealth— educating us about the importance of native plants and the importance of managing the invasion of alien plants. There are already many good resources that have been compiled on these subjects, but they have not always reached a wider audience. In addition, new information is continually being developed and vetted by scientists and conservationists. We hope you will find this site especially useful and our intention is:
- To make a compelling case about the importance of this issue to all of us, and the need for action.
- To bring to your attention the best reference materials that we know on the subject, rather than everything that exists; to include books, articles, and websites that you will find really useful.
- To make this subject accessible and interesting to all citizens and the general reader, without oversimplifying the issue or being inaccurate.
- To present information that advances public understanding about the complexities of healthy gardens and landscapes—including soil relationships, climate issues, and other factors.
- To motivate you to help control invasive plants and to give you links to the information needed to do so.
- To inspire you to use more native plants—because of their biological importance to all local ecosystems and because of their beauty.
This site was launched in January 2010. Its creation has been an entirely volunteer effort. In its current form, it contains only the start of what we hope to include in the future. Our goal is to grow the site over time, and we look forward to your help. Please Become a Member and support our work.
We welcome your feedback, suggestions for future site development, materials to be considered for inclusion, better information, and corrections.