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Preserving Species Diversity

Articles: Preserving Species Diversity

Eriogonum latifolium crosses with Muhlenbergia rigens. Photo: courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials

It seems that every week we read about another animal or flora threatened with extinction. It’s no secret that the health of the planet’s diverse ecosystems are under attack from threats as diverse as human encroachment—cutting down virgin forests to grow monoculture crops like coffee or palm oil—to the accidental introduction of an invasive species into an ecosystem, which can have dire consequences.

It isn’t just animal species that are disappearing, however. So, too, are plants. In any ecosystem, plants and animals form mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships, and the loss of one directly affects the other. As individuals, we may feel powerless to reverse this trend, even if we offer financial or, occasionally, physical support to these larger ecosystems.

There is, however, something that we gardeners can do—and that is to strengthen the urban ecosystems that surround us. Our actions and our voices can, one by one and small group by small group, collectively have a substantial impact on our...

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