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Native Plant Initiative

About the Native Plant Initiative

Historically, native grasses and forbs (wildflowers) were abundant across the Northern Great Plains. Native plants are the foundation that supports insects, pollinators (including bees), birds and wildlife. Loss of grasslands and invasive plants began to emerge as problems in the 1800s. Initially, managing vegetation was simply removing occasional invasive plants from a background of native plants. However, now our grasslands are so heavily impacted that management can be envisioned as restoring native plants in a background of invasive species. Further, so few grasslands remain that we need to maximize the biodiversity of native plants in every area possible. These areas include private and public lands such as grasslands, wetlands, woodlands, farms, ranches, parks, yards and urban areas.

This new reality requires a more thorough understanding of native plant restoration and production than currently exists for native plants in the Northern Great Plains.

The Native Plant Initiative is sponsored by the Department of Natural Resource Management (NRM), the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Sciences (AHPS) and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES). This initiative is led by Lora Perkins in the Department of Natural Resource Management.


To support the use of native plants in private and public lands in the Northern Great Plains through research, education and outreach.


  • Abundant and diverse native plants providing ecosystem services and natural heritage throughout the Northern Great Plains.
  • Engaged stakeholders, excited collaborators and an educated public involved in expanding native plant use region-wide.
  • Vibrant and profitable native plant material production, distribution and trade supporting the expanded use of native plants region-wide.

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