Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
Global warming negatively impacts the plant world. A recent British study suggests climate change could devastate the world economy by triggering damaging effects that include species extinction and famine.
The report joins other research like the 2005 study that suggests that unaddressed climate change could impact the expansion of invasive species into wider ranges. This study looked at the genetic history of a goby fish species in the eastern Atlantic that appears to have expanded its range dramatically when the world warmed about 150,000 years ago. The report suggested that with climate change warmer temperatures would welcome tropical invasive species that would endanger U.S. native plants and animals at an unprecedented rate.
In this issue of Wildflower we also look at consequences -- economic and otherwise -- of failure to act in the best way for the environment. In Madeline Bodin's article, “Water Foul,” we discuss invasive water plants and how they wreak havoc on our aquatic ecosystems. The article notes that invasive plants now account for $35 billion of the $120 billion of damages and losses due to invasive species and that many of the problems start with gardeners who have good intentions but bad information.
In our Native People column, Linda Drees of the National Park Service talks about her job overseeing the 2.6 million acres of national park land infested with exotic plants.
And in “Urban Renewal,” Roddy Scheer examines urban land restoration projects using native plants in cities like San Antonio, Seattle and Brooklyn. The article also looks at the cost of these projects and at how they can be more expensive in the short-term but worth it in the long-term.
Sometimes environmental problems are so big that addressing them will take people acting individually as well as governments of nations around the world acting together to ward off catastrophic effects. Other times, serious problems and initiatives still can be affected to a large degree by our individual actions.
Throughout this issue of Wildflower, we discuss how you can make a difference, whether it's by taking care not to release invasive aquatic plants into the wild or advocating the use of native plants in your city. At the Wildflower Center, we believe that education is critical for people to make informed, intelligent choices about what to plant in backyards and other landscapes.
At this point, we're fortunate that, although difficult, it's not too late to affect climate change. And we should be thankful that with this and many other environmental problems -- while complicated and costly -- we still can make some necessary changes. Sometimes even right from our own backyards.
Christina K. Procopiou