Not just any plant will do
Because species of plants and animals evolved together, the loss of a single native plant species can disrupt an intricate web supporting myriad plants and animals. For example, about 80 percent of our region’s insect species depend on particular species of native plants, and 90 percent of North American bird species feed their young with insects. What will happen to the birds as native host plants and the insects they support vanish?
If current trends continue, we may find out: Twenty-two percent of New England’s native plant species are rare or no longer found here. Thirty-one percent of plant species in the region are not native, and 10 percent of those are invasive, posing a threat to native plants.
Plants = habitat
Over thousands of years, plants have adapted to the geology, climate, and other conditions of the environment in which they evolved. There they provide core habitat—food and shelter—for diverse other organisms that evolved with them.
At least five of New England’s defining habitat types, from alpine to estuarine, are either vanishing or imperiled by numerous threats.
We can’t survive without native plants
Of all Earth’s organisms, plants alone can transform energy from the sun into food for themselves and other forms of life. Some animal species cannot eat plants but consume insects that do, allowing plant energy to flow throughout the animal kingdom, right to our tables.
Native plants are in sharp decline throughout New England.
If you care about native plants, join us
Explore what our conservation scientists are doing to save imperiled plants, control invasive plants, and keep common plants common. Browse our classes, programs, and family activities to dig deeper into the green world. Visit our unique native plant botanic garden. And learn how you can support our efforts to conserve New England’s native plants.