Delaware Public Media

Extinction Task Force encourages Delawareans to plant native plants

Dec 6, 2017

The state’s Ecological Extinction Task Force is recommending Delawareans only plant indigenous vegetation in their lawns and gardens.

The task force was formed earlier this year following a University of Delaware study showing an alarming extinction rate of local plants and animals. To help curtail the issue, the group is recommending residents and businesses only plant foliage indigenous to the state’s natural ecosystem in their landscapes.

Doug Tallamy is a Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at U-D. He says native plants do a better job of supporting the other life around them.

“What people need to recognize is that their piece of property—their little piece of the world—is part of a local ecosystem, and the way they landscape it, what they do with that property, is either going to enhance that ecosystem or destroy it,” said Tallamy.

Tallamy says foreign plants often sold in nurseries can harm the ecosystem by becoming an invasive species, when they spread their seeds from landscaping to natural lands.

The task force report recommends incentives for people who plant indigenous species in their yards. Several other recommendations included in the report deal with public awareness.

“Most people do not realize the plants and animals around us are disappearing, and even more important, they don’t realize why that matters,” said Tallamy.

The report will be presented to lawmakers in the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January.