Stewardship and Ecological Threats

The plants, animals, physical setting, and natural processes of a natural community are interrelated and interdependent. A threat to any part is a threat to the whole.

For example, if the deer population is too large, and they eat almost all the oak seedlings, there may not be enough acorns in the coming decades to support as much wildlife. Or if an invasive vine such as Japanese honeysuckle or English ivy covers mature trees, cavity nesters such as woodpeckers and owls may not be able to nest in those trees.

Learn more about common ecological threats and how park staff, government agencies, and volunteers are addressing them.

Explore these sections:

Plants and Animals

How do invasive species, diseases, and fluctuating population sizes impact natural communities?

Water and Land Use

What impact does historic and current water and land use have?

Climate and Weather

What impact can severe natural disturbances and longer-term climate change have on natural communities?

You Can Make a Difference!

Most parks and natural areas have plenty of opportunities for volunteers to work in the park to help protect the natural communities there. Contact your local park or natural area for more information.

When you’re visiting a park, you can help keep natural communities healthy by being observant and sharing what you see with park staff. Ecobit: An Extra Set of Eyes

You can also help parks and natural areas from the comfort of your own backyard. You can avoid planting non-native plants in your yard. Ecobit: Go Native Or if you do, you can maintain them to keep them from spreading. Ecobit: Don’t Let Your Ivy Climb There are also things you can do in your yard and neighborhood to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that flows into nearby streams. Ecobit: Is your property watershed friendly?

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Teaser images: Oriental bittersweet - Al Schotz; Peirce mill dam - Sam Sheline; American holly - Matt Jones