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Plant Materials Policy
It is the Wildlife Division’s policy to use native plant materials when desired management objectives can be practically met. When feasible, locally adapted ecotypes should be used in plantings. Invasive native plant materials also should be avoided. Previously unbroken land supporting native plant communities should will not be converted.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s long-range plan (approved July 1996) embraces an ecosystems approach to management. Therefore, natural communities or ecosystems are to be managed to sustain, enhance, and restore natural communities and ecosystems.
Invasion by non-native plants is a pervasive threat to natural plant communities throughout Nebraska. The Commission and its partners have a history of using non-native (and invasive native plants) for wildlife management purposes. In some instances, these plants have degraded native plant communities leading to an undesired change in biodiversity and ecosystem function. This policy statement provides guidance to Wildlife Division staff as to the appropriate use of plant materials on Commission and other project lands.
Native plants are those present in Nebraska plant communities prior to European settlement (ca. 1850). Non-native plants are those not present in Nebraska prior to European settlement and have been introduced, either accidentally or deliberately. Introductions may have occurred over large distances, such as continent-to-continent or over relatively short distances, such as the introduction of ponderosa pine into eastern Nebraska from western Nebraska. Non-native plants can be categorized as two types. Invasive non-natives are species that aggressively spread from planted areas and often invade and degrade native plant communities. Noninvasive non-natives are species that generally do not spread from planted areas and do not invade native plant communities. Certain plants are more invasive in some communities than in others.
Some native plants are also invasive. Invasive native plants should be used with caution and less invasive varieties should be used when possible.
List of Non-native Plants:
To provide a complete list of invasive and noninvasive non-native plants is beyond the scope of this policy statement. References include: the "Flora of the Great Plains" (Barkley et al., 1986); "Native Vegetation [Map] of Nebraska" (Kaul and Rolfsmeier, 1993); "Flora of Nebraska" (In press); should be consulted to determine if a plant is native to a particular region of Nebraska. Questions can also be directed to Natural Heritage Program staff in Lincoln.
Development Plant Material Sources and Mixtures
Currently, not all management objectives can be achieved by using entirely native plant materials. Some native plant materials are very expensive. Others are difficult to plant or planting information is unavailable. In some cases, management objectives that can be achieved by using mixtures of plants that include some non-natives can not be duplicated at the present time with pure native mixtures. These factors require that the Commission work to develop new, more economical, and more practical sources of plant materials and seed mixtures.