Why Should I plant Plant Natives?
California native plants offer many practical and environmental benefits for gardeners. While many cite the drought tolerance features of California native plants, a much more important reason would be to help sustain and protect California's biodiversity. Biodiversity refers the amount of species found within an area. Many Californians do not realize that the California Floristic Province is one of 25 special areas throughout the world known for its biodiversity and is listed as a “hotspot”. Other hotspots include the Cerrado region (aka the Amazon Basin), the Eastern Afromontane (aka the Congo) and the Himalayas.
California is one of five Mediterranean-type climate zone hotspots and has the high levels of plant endemism characteristic of these regions. The hotspot is home to the giant sequoia, the planet's largest living organism and its taller but less massive relative, the coastal redwood.
This region also holds a number of threatened endemic species such as the giant kangaroo rat and the desert slender salamander, and some of the last individuals of the Critically Endangered California condor can still be found here. In fact, it is the largest avian breeding ground in the United States.
Wilderness destruction caused by commercial farming is a major threat for the region as the California Floristic Province generates half of all the agricultural products used by U.S. consumers. The hotspot is also heavily threatened by the expansion of urban areas, pollution, and road construction. Only 24% of the pristine California Floristic Province remains in existence.
So why plant natives? Well, by planting natives you can reestablish the symbiotic links because insects, birds, mammals and the plants and restore balance.