Image credits: Erica Spotswood
Native vegetation includes plant species that have a long evolutionary history in a particular location.
Native plants support the native wildlife with which they have co-evolved. Over evolutionary history, native species often develop particular relationships with one another and with their physical environment. For example, many insects have developed specialized relationships with native host plants. Native plants can bolster the entire food web by supporting the presence of these specialized local insects, which can, in turn, be a food resource for other wildlife. In addition to providing wildlife habitat, the use of native species in urban landscaping can also reduce water usage and maintenance costs. Selecting native species and communities that are likely to be tolerant of future climate conditions, particularly for long-lived plants and trees, can create a climate-adaptive native or largely native plant palette.
The Urban Biodiversity Framework identifies seven key landscape elements that, when integrated together into urban design and planning, have the greatest chance of supporting the greatest number of species. Each element is related to various strategies from the urban planning, site design, and detailed design chapters.