Biodiversity is the abundance and variety of life in a region.
Many of KCC’s affiliates and allies are deeply invested in protecting biodiversity as a unique natural resource. Biodiversity provides the platform for human life: crops, wood, textiles, medicines and animals.
Threats to biodiversity include: habitat loss, invasive species, deforestation, overharvesting, climate change, and pollution.
Why is the loss of biodiversity continuing? Demand for resources, population growth, lack of political will.
Is biodiversity a priority in Kentucky? Grassroots efforts are raising awareness, combating deforestation, for instance, by organizing public opposition. State agencies are asking for legislation but need citizen advocacy to energize lawmakers.
The Value of Native Plants
Many native species of plants can be hosts for pollinators, with their eggs or food for their young. An example would be a butterfly, such as the close relationship between monarchs and milkweed
Planting these alternatives to the big box mass-produced flowers saves energy (in growing, fertilizing, administering pesticide treatments, transporting and marketing throw-away annuals); and reduces non-recyclable packaging (because they are perennial); and provides pollinators, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects with the habitat plants they require. These species in turn support the songbirds we like to see in our backyards.
Many garden groups are now advocating native plants and that they are becoming increasingly available in retail shops, and are known for their resilience and beauty, (albeit not generally as familiar as the exotic specimens that have been introduced, often with terrible consequences). Exotic invasive species such as bush honeysuckle or the Asian pear trees cost many millions of dollars yearly to eradicate.
Biodiversity in Kentucky
Kentucky holds some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, which is why KCC holds the protection of Kentucky’s biodiversity as one of its primary campaigns.
One of KCC’s main goals is to enhance and protect the Commonwealth’s rich biodiversity. To that end, KCC is pleased to make available to the public an important policy paper on biodiversity entitled, “The Importance of Roadside Vegetation and the Need for a Vegetation Management Plan in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” This paper is authored by Dr. Tara Trammell of the University of Louisville and Dr. Tamara Sluss of Kentucky State University. The paper highlights the need for an Integrated Plan to remove exotic species, promote the use of native species and maintain healthy plant communities which are vital for the state. We invite your careful attention to this important paper and and your participation in a discussion of these important issues.
KCC Whitepapers and Essays:
- Biodiversity Papers
- A National and Historical Context for Invasive Species
- The Forager’s Delight: Persimmon
Kentucky Biodiversity Resource Links:
- Interactive Guide to Kentucky’s Biodiversity for Children
- Biodiversity Information: Western Ky. University
- Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Helpful Links on Roadside Vegetation:
Bird Species Weblinks in Kentucky: