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Native to a Region

Native plants are species indigenous to a particular habitat within a specific bio-geographic region. They are adapted to the soil, hydrology, and climate in which they thrive, and they have evolved defenses to many diseases and insect pests.

Ecoregions

Numerous factors determine biological diversity, such as climate, soil chemistry, soil composition, and geology.  Plants and animals that are native to a particular ecoregion are adapted to that area's specific conditions. While a given species may be represented in many ecoregions, the species' specific genetic make-up may vary among ecoregions. USEPA and the U.S. Forest Service are among the federal agencies that use ecoregions to define regions.

Cardno uses USEPA's Level III ecoregions as a key criterion for specifying native plants. To maximize the probability of successful plant growth and establishment, when possible, we recommend specifying native plant materials that originate from within the project's same or adjacent ecoregion. Not every project needs this level of specificity; contact Cardno to determine if ecoregion verification is important in meeting your project's goals and objectives.

Learn more about ecoregions.

Level III Ecoregion
 

Genotype Verification

To further determine if a plant is native to a region, the plant’s genotype needs to be verified. Different regions and climates alter the dormancy, bloom times, and hardiness of the same plant species. These slight differences can affect a plant’s relationship with pollinators and its ability to reproduce and survive.

In most instances, Cardno tracks the genotype of each plant to the parent collection site, to confirm that the plant is native to the particular region. If genotype is important for your restoration project, we can make appropriate plant recommendations and assist with regulatory compliance.