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Prairie Grasses

Past and Potential for Ontario's Natural Heritage - Page 9

The "native debate" - One of the more contentious issues in restoration circles centers around the importance of using native seed from local sources when engaging in restoration projects. While this is debated continually among practitioners, many restorationists feel strongly that restoration projects should use plant species indigenous to the area and should involve seed from nearby the project site, so that the project restores the genetic variety and diversity found naturally in the local area (Delaney et al. in prep.; Daigle and Havinga 1996; Kutner and Morse 1996; Morgan et al. 1995). Current and historic information on tallgrass species distribution and abundance is necessary, on both a regional and local level, to piece together a list of species appropriate for authentic restoration activities. Such historic information is quite incomplete, and the current situation gives us only clues to past natural distribution and abundance, due to the fact that southern Ontario has been so highly disturbed. In addition, some practitioners argue that since nature is not static, if Ontario had never been highly modified by settlement, natural patterns of plant distribution might be very different today. Nevertheless, historic and current information can provide cautious guidance for restoration work. Appendix 1 summarizes information from various sources (Goodban 1995; Oldham 1993; Riley 1989) regarding distribution of Poaceae species associated with tallgrass prairie in Ontario. This information can be used by restorationists as a guide to help develop species lists for planting activities. A similar list including both prairie grass and forb species appropriate for Ontario restoration activity is currently in preparation (K. Delaney, pers. comm.).

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 References Appendix 1

| What are plant families? | How do we distinguish them? | How and why do we study them? | Selected vascular plant families of Ontario | Reading List | Course outline |

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Page design © 1999 T. A. Dickinson; essay text and illustrations © 1998 Lindsay Rodger except as noted.
Please send your comments to tim.dickinson@utoronto.ca; last updated 7-May-99

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