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  • I wonder when the point will be that indigenous plants will no longer be the only thing recommended for planting. My lifetime, the next? The article writes like we are already there but I'm not seeing it yet.

    Endemic planting is akin to climate change denial perhaps. Here in the "natural area restoration" field, most are recreating pre-colonial consortiums, you know, 250 years ago for us, before climate change was a twinkle in humanity's eye.

    Excellent thought-provoking article. Cheers.

    • In urban forestry I would say it’s almost the opposite—there is an implicit assumption that introduced plants will do better among many arborists and others that goes beyond the evidence in my view. Basically all native plants are written off as infeasible for urban areas, yet species from Northern Europe, eastern North America, and east Asia are planted unquestioningly, despite big differences between our climate and those areas.

      Among the public there is a stronger pro-native sentiment, but then in my experience many people don’t even know what the word means, they’ve just osmosed that it’s something good.

      In my view there are many native species that will do well into the future—particularly when planted at the northern edge of a plant’s range. But the truth is, there are no guarantees, and you need to evaluate the tolerance of each species on a case by case basis. Right now I’m very interested in taking a more bioregional view of what it means to be native—it’s clear that northern and mountain natives will not thrive in our area going forward, but species from the broader Southwest region that occupy similar soils and moisture regimes but experience hotter temperatures may be solid for both biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation. Further research is needed to quantify the pros and cons of this topic.

      • Particularly when native is different from indigenous/endemic. It's a confusing topic with native tending to mean every national plant without acknowledging native in relation to endemic is the same as exotic and non-exotic. There are plenty of "native invasive weeds" that we need to deal with on a daily basis. We've talked about provenancing before, an endemic plant from another range is "exotic" to that area it evolved in but genetically is similar but diverse enough to count in the "pub test" (layperson understanding of plants).

        Exotic plants in the urban landscape exist because while an urban landscape is alien; from the soil, to the hydrology, to the wind, to the reflective heat, to the pollution, removing endemic pest/disease pressures gives them a leg up on native plants which means they tend to do better (initially and at the cost of other things). That's 1800's to 1980's urban planning, then we switched to natives, then endemics, and now climate change is like "get fucked". Back to the drawing board. You're right, intense study needed.