New Native Plant Book Helps Landowners Boost Wildlife Habitat

Apr 18, 2017

Credit USFWS

Wisconsin landowners hoping to improve wildlife habitat on their property -- whether a city lot or hundreds of acres -- have a new resource to help them choose native plants , benefit wildlife, and promote water quality." Wisconsin's Native Plants: Recommendations For Landscaping And Natural Community Restoration" is the title of a publication from the DNR.

One of the authors is conservation biologist Lucas Olson. He says improving the local habitat is dependent on using native plants....

"....native plants are the backbone of ecosystems and food webs. There are so many insects that rely entirely on native plants as well as animals that move on up the food chain following them. Really, native plants are the most important thing you can do for your landscape to build habitat for wildlife....."

Olson says native plants that evolved in Wisconsin have by far a greater ability to fuel life up the food chain than nonnative plants. The new publication groups plants by region and by specific soils, topography and climate.

Lucas says they list species that are widespread throughout Wisconsin...

"...the big thing to do is establish them. Once they are established, most of them are perennials and will keep going on their own. They won't have any trouble out-competing any other non-native plants but the key is to get them all established and fight back weeds and invasive species before they get started at the beginning....."

More information about the Wisconsin Native Plants publication, how to use the lists, how DNR developed them and why native plants are beneficial can be found in the winter 2017 issue of Natural Heritage Quarterly which is through the DNR website.