Regarding the North Coast Journal's May 4 article, "The Butterfly Effect," describing Daniel Veillieux and Joseph Ferber's inspiring vision to transform Arcata into a wildlife habitat: Why must all the plants be native? What about roses and lilacs?
The simple answer is that wildlife populations need native plants to eat and use for nest-building, habitat and raising their young. Non-native plants simply do not meet the dietary requirements for the healthy adults, larvae and young of the many species. Wildlife species are experiencing die-offs because the plants that serve them simply do not exist locally. Although, native habitats have been preserved and protected in parks and reserves, human habits have historically excluded native plants.
Urbanized areas and huge agricultural developments, deforested lands, urban developments and rural homes have expanded greatly. The amount of land protected or even available for wildlife is rapidly vanishing. As a result, we have seen massive decreases in native plants and wildlife populations that depend on the diverse native ecosystems that once covered Humboldt County and California.
California was known as the Floristic Province because of its great natural beauty, diversity and abundance. All living things collectively supported a native ecosystem that was sustainable, i.e., without dams and fertilizers; it sustained life. The people who lived here valued their land, wetlands, shores, dunes, rivers and marshes. They recognized this place Humboldt as a paradise.
The time has come to restore these lands or face more extinctions of plant and animal species. It is proper that humans involve themselves in plans to reverse the negative effects of human dominance and take on the task of restoring the native habitat and ecosystems. It will benefit the human race as we learn to be a beneficial part of nature. It is believed that such restorations, on a large scale, would contribute to the reversal of climate change.
Xandra Manns, Eureka