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Advantages of Native Vegetation

Native to a region


Numerous factors determine biological diversity, such as climate,

soil chemistry, soil composition, and geology. Together, such

factors define complex natural patterns called ecological regions,

or ecoregions. Plants and animals that are native to a particular

ecoregion are adapted to that area’s specific conditions. While

a given species may be represented in many ecoregions, the

species’ specific genetic make-up may vary among ecoregions. The

US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the US Forest

Service are among the federal agencies that use ecoregions to

define regions.

Cardno uses USEPA’s Level III ecoregions as a key criterion for

specifying native plants. To maximize the probability of successful plant

growth and establishment, when possible, we recommend specifying

native plant materials that originate from within the project’s same or

adjacent ecoregion. Not every project needs this level of specificity;

contact Cardno to determine if ecoregion verification is important in

meeting your project’s goals and objectives.

Genotype verification

To further determine if a plant species is native to a region,

the plant’s genotype can be verified. Different regions and climates

alter the dormancy, bloom times, and hardiness of the same plant

species. These slight differences can affect a plant’s relationship

with pollinators and its ability to reproduce and survive.

In most instances, Cardno tracks the genotype of each plant to

the parent collection site, to confirm that the plant is native to

the particular region. If genotype is important for your restoration

project, we can make appropriate plant recommendations and assist

with regulatory compliance.

USEPA Level III Ecoregions