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View Diary: Backyard Science - Native Plants Versus Privet, A Photo Diary (84 comments)

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  •  Before humans existed, and even after (12+ / 0-)

    the rise of humans but before we became so mobile, plant and animal populations advanced and retreated due to glaciation, sea level change, climate change, and other factors. In general, organisms gradually moved from nearby locations as conditions changed. One can easily argue that they were "native," and their native ranges moved around over time.

    Rarely did a plant from Australia have an opportunity to colonize an area left bare by a melting glacier in North America.

    Now, plants and animals move all over the world at jet speed, either intentionally or by mistake.

    Lady's slippers grow over a wide enough natural range that they are not likely to be wiped out. But they cannot grow underneath a monoculture of privet (which is evergreen in the South, leaving no window of sunlight for early blooming). Neither can they thrive in lawns, farm fields, or parking lots. They are indeed at the mercy of competitors. Threatened with extinction, no. But each year, fewer acres of land exist where they can live. Ditto for many other species.

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