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by Ken Lewis, Conservation CoordinatorRecently, I attended a workshop put on by Cows and Fish. Lorne Fitch was one of the speakers, and he talked about why we in agriculture, and society in general, would want to maintain native plants on the landscape.In bullet form, here’s the nine answers that Lorne gave to the question: “Why Native Plants?”• They are adapted to local conditions (weather, terrain, soil)• They are adapted to our highly variable climate (droughts, floods, wet, dry)• They work together, as a synergistic community• They develop natural defenses (to things like disease, pests, etc.)• They provide a full suite of ecosystem services• They produce, without requiring artificial amendments like fertilizer, pesticides or irrigation• They are key to maintaining our native wildlife (for example, our native sages are key to 75% of our native prairie animals)• They are key to restoration (for example, using native willows in streambank stabilization projects)• They provide aesthetics: beauty and diversity• They take care of usTo find out more, visit cowsandfish.org or anpc.ab.ca (the Alberta Native Plants Council).As a side note: re-establishing or enhancing native plants on your farm, ranch or acreage, could be an eligible project under our ALUS Program or Green Acreages Program. Contact Ken (for ALUS) or Aimee (for Green Acreages) at 403.350.2150.