On May 27, 2011, partner agencies came together at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology to sign an agreement that marks renewal of an important initiative for Louisiana�Louisiana’s Native Plant Initiative. This multi-agency initiative is dedicated to helping conserve a vanishing natural resource in Louisiana�our native plants.
“Native plants adapted to Louisiana are essential for restoring naturally-functioning endangered ecosystems,” said Phil Turnipseed, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette. “These ecosystems are resilient and sustainable because they provide better qualityhabitat for native pollinators, grassland birds, and our partners’ conservation goals.”
In Louisiana, native plants such as longleaf pine, switchgrass, big bluestem, little bluestem, smooth cordgrass, eastern gamagrass, and partridge pea exist and are part of various unique ecosystems.
“Native plants maintain the biological diversity necessary to keep a healthy ecosystem,” said Kevin Norton, State Conservationist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. “A healthy ecosystem will help protect water quality, prevent soil erosion, and provide wildlife habitat for resident and migratory species.”
Native plants are important because they evolved naturally�adapting to soils and local climates. Because native plants have adapted to local conditions, they are vigorous and hardy, require no fertilization or irrigation, are long lived, good pollinators, resistant to pests and diseases, and provide abundant nutritional forage for livestock.
Public and private land managers around the state are using locally adapted native plants for restoration, conservation, and re-vegetation projects�but there are limited native plant materials available. LNPI partners are working together to collect, increase, and release native plants for commercial production.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Geological Survey�National Wetlands Research Center