It is important to preserve the natural biodiversity of our forest by planting a variety of native trees, shrubs and perennials. The term "native species" refers to vegetation that grew naturally in southern Ontario prior to European settlement.
In the past, cities and municipalities planted many non-native species that would grow quickly and were tolerant to harsh urban conditions. However, some exotics, such as Norway maple (Acer platanoides), reproduced aggressively and began to out-compete all else in ravines and other natural areas.
To preserve the diversity of our forest we must select species suitable to our geographic area. Native plants have adapted to local climatic conditions over thousands of years and once established, are able to stay healthy with little watering and without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Native plants are also important to the survival of urban wildlife (like songbirds and butterflies) as they provide essential food and shelter.