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Native Plants Journal - Article

Comparing perceptions of native status


Use of the term "native" when referring to plants is common in many settings. However, what "native" means to different individuals and groups is often poorly understood. Inconsistent definition of native status ("nativity") may complicate implementation or endorsement of conservation activities, particularly those involving revegetation. Professionals in plant-related fields are typically responsible for developing
revegetation projects as well as regulations that apply to these projects. To assess how definition criteria may differ between groups we developed a questionnaire that asked respondents to assess native status in 13 hypothetical revegetation scenarios. A total of 303 questionnaires were evaluated with respondents from 33 states. Different respondent groups responded differently in certain scenarios. Where differences existed, professionals in plant-related fields were more likely to regard plants native than non-professionals. Respondents associated with Native Plant Societies (NPS) were less likely to designate plants as native than non-NPS respondents. Successful conservation activities with native plants should involve open and precise definition of nativity.

Issue & Pages:

Spring 2001 Pages: 5-11

Article Download:

2-1NPJ05-11.pdf (PDF document)


  • Steven E Smith
  • Susan R Winslow


grassland, indigenous species, restoration, revegetation

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