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Plants & Animals

Plants and animals form the core of what comes to mind when we think about “environment.” These two resource concerns are at the heart of much of the conservation work done by NRCS to support healthy ecosystems.

Plants are the fabric which covers the soil. They hold the soil in place to reduce erosion and improve water quality. Plants provide our food, materials for shelter, fuel to warm us and replenish the air we breathe. Plants provide food for animals and habitat for wildlife.

Animals both large and small are a critical component to our environment. Domesticated animals, such as livestock, provide us food, fiber and leather. Wild animals, including birds, fish, insects and pollinators, are important to support the web of activity in a functioning ecosystem.

Healthy populations of plants and animals are critical for life. Invasive plants and pests can ruin crop fields and forests and drastically alter the natural processes of ecosystems.

NRCS develops technical information and guidance to assist conservationists and landowners with enhancing plant and animal populations and addressing invasive plant and pest concerns.

Many of today's environmental problems can be addressed effectively through the use of plants. Plants Materials Centers and Specialists provide state-of-the-art technology to help field offices and land users solve critical natural resource issues. The Plant Materials Program strives to meet the challenge by: a) developing new technology for current conservation needs, and b) transferring this information to its customers. The National Plant Materials Program:

• focuses on using native plants as a healthy way to solve conservation problems and protect ecosystems.
• Develops improved plants and plant technology for the conservation of our Nation’s natural resources.
• Works with a broad range of species, including grasses, forbs, trees, and shrubs.
• Seeks to address the needs of field offices and land managers in both the public and private sectors.
• Transfers our technology by working with NRCS field offices and other cooperators to apply new conservation methods.