Colorado Reader 04/2018 | Page 2

Why Are Native Plants Important? Go Native with These 6 Basic Tips: • Native plants are equipped to live with the local climate, soil types, and animals. Plants and animals that have evolved together depend upon each other for survival. Native plants are being lost to habitat destruction, invasive plants, introduced pests, and diseases. Action can be taken to protect and enhance the remaining diversity of beautiful and useful native plants using the following six basic guidelines. • Native plants are used in the development of new foods, medicines, and industrial products. • Native plants have developed their own natural defenses against many pests and diseases, requiring less pesticide use. Reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides keeps these toxins out of our watersheds. 1. Protect native plant communities and minimize habitat destruction. • Native plant communities provide opportunities for people to experience and appreciate Colorado’s rich natural heritage. They are what make different regions unique. Native plants help connect people to nature. 4. Buy nursery-grown native plants. 2. Landscape with native plants. 3. Learn more about native plants. 5. Do not remove native plants from the wild. 6. Practice responsible landscaping techniques by planting the right plants in the right environment. What is Biodiversity? Biodiversity , short for biological diversity, refers to all organisms living and interacting in all ecosystems on earth. This includes all levels of organisms from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life. The basic ecological unit in the biosphere is the ecosystem. Each ecosystem consists of a community of plants and animals. They are in an environment they require to live. Biodiversity includes not only species we consider rare, threatened, or endangered, but every living thing – from humans to organisms, such as microbes, fungi, and invertebrates. Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom Biodiversity is Important Biodiversity is important to most aspects of our lives. This includes the many basic needs humans obtain from biodiversity such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. Ecosystems provide crucial services such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests. Biodiversity also holds value for potential benefits not yet recognized, such as new medicines and other possible unknown services. Biodiversity shapes who we are, our relationships to each other, and social norms. 2