Why Use Native Plants? What is a Native Plant?
BLM Manual 1745 defines a native plant species as a plant occurring either presently or historically in any ecosystem in the United States.
Which Native Plants Should be Used?
Restoration and Reclamation efforts are more likely to be successful when locally-sourced native plant materials are used because those plants are genetically adapted to the local conditions. So:
- Try to use local native plants. Locally collected seed can be used directly or can be increased agriculturally. You can also use transplants from disturbance salvage, or nursery container stock grown from local seed sources.
- The next best choice is to use native plant materials (seed, transplant or other propagule) derived from regional genotypes. Plant materials originating in Utah are likely to be more successful in Wyoming than those from Iowa, simply because they are adapted to similar growing conditions including drought and high elevation.
- In general, use native plant materials rather than non-native species. If non-native species replace local native plants at any particular site, we lose the genetic diversity of plants, microbes and sometimes animals that have evolved to adapt to the environmental conditions at that location.
Integrated Vegetation Management Handbook Guidance on Native Plant Use
To the extent possible, seeds and plants used in restoration, erosion control, burned area stabilization and rehabilitation, forage enhancement and other projects should originate from local sources. Local sources often possess genotypes that are adapted to the local environment, leading to higher short-term and long-term establishment and survival rates. “Local” refers to sources within or as close as possible to the project area and within the same ecological region. (BLM Handbook 1740-2)
One of the goals for the Seeds of Success program is to collect with the purpose of making native seed commercially available to industry for large-scale reclamation use on disturbed pieces of land.
BLM Wyoming reclamation policy requires the use of native plants for restoration on BLM-administered public lands.