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The Importance of Native Plants and the Pressures They Face

  • Sara F. Oldfield
  • Peggy Olwell
  • Nancy Shaw
  • Kayri Havens
Chapter
Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)

Abstract

Plants are important for our survival, our well-being, and our inspiration. The native plants and ecosystems of the U.S. are resources of immense importance, underpinning all life in the country. Plants provide a vast array of ecosystem goods and services. They regulate water supplies, provide oxygen, and sequester carbon, controlling the atmosphere and climate of our planet. In addition, they provide food for us, habitat for wildlife, food for pollinators that are essential for crop production, timber and raw materials for industry,  medicine, ornamental horticulture, and the economy more broadly. Documentation of species in the country since the seventeenth century is briefly considered together with the current state of knowledge of plant species. The global biodiversity hotspots in the country and the main threats to plant species in the U.S. are briefly described.

Keywords

Ecosystem services Crop wild relatives Medicinal plants Bioenergy Threatened plant species Habitat loss Invasive species Plant biodiversity hotspots 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara F. Oldfield
    • 1
  • Peggy Olwell
    • 2
  • Nancy Shaw
    • 3
  • Kayri Havens
    • 4
  1. 1.CambridgeUK
  2. 2.Bureau of Land ManagementWashington, DCUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest ServiceRocky Mountain Research StationBoiseUSA
  4. 4.Chicago Botanic GardenGlencoeUSA

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