There are 133 species and subspecies of deciduous and evergreen trees native to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Native plants are part of our natural heritage and future. William Penn described the forests of Pennsylvania as “the natural produce of the country.”
The following websites can assist you in learn more about native trees and plants.
Common Trees of Pennsylvania – a DCNR Forestry website that can teach you how to identify the common native trees of Pennsylvania
Drive down any road in the region and you will probably find non-native plant species beginning to invade our forests, stream corridors, meadows, and yes, even the ornamental landscapes at your home. When was the last time you walked your property and wondered why there seems to be plants that are taking over? Your property may already have been invaded by an “exotic invasive” plant or you might have even accidentally planted some in your landscape that will soon escape and invade a nearby forest or stream. As good stewards we need to become more aware of the impact these non-native invasive species have on our local environment and learn to identify and properly control these species before they completely take over an area.
It is really just another name for a noxious environmental weed pest that was introduced from other continents and has escaped cultivation causing serious harm to native habitats for insects and wildlife. Before you start tearing out all your landscape plants, you must know that NOT all non-native plants are invasive and there are some native plants that have a tendency to become invasive (especially on disturbed sites). In order for a plant to be considered “invasive”, it usually grows aggressively (on various sites and growing conditions), spreads quickly (by seed, rhizomes, or cuttings), lacks natural predators, pathogens and parasites, and displaces native plants.
Researchers at Cornell University and elsewhere have estimated that “Exotic Invasive Species” (plants, insects, and animals) are costing the United States more than $138 billion each year, due to their economic impact on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, wildlife, ornamental landscapes, waterways, and the Nation’s other natural resources. The cost and losses associated with plant, pests and weeds was estimated at $80 billion per year. Invasive species impair biological diversity by causing population declines, species extinctions, shifts in predator-prey dynamics, shifts in species niches, changes in habitat, and reductions in ecosystem complexity.
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