The Louisiana Native Plant Initiative ( LNPI)
The Louisiana Native Plant Initiative's (LNPI) mission is to help collect, preserve, increase, and study native grasses, forbs, and legumes assembled from Louisiana ecosystems. This work is meant to conserve a vanishing natural resource and provide an essential step in the development of a Louisiana native plant industry.
Native plant species occurring in Louisiana have evolved over thousands of years in response to local environmental influences including fire, drought, flooding, grazing, and man. Louisiana’s native plants, being well adapted to local growing conditions, are threatened by the extensive and rapid loss of coastal wetlands and barrier islands, and the loss of grassland ecosystems of coastal prairies and longleaf pine forests. Though Louisiana’s coastal wetlands are some of the most imperiled ecosystems in the nation, other natural grasslands such as the coastal prairie and longleaf pine forest, along with their native grassland understory, are also threatened. Awareness of their preservation and restoration is critically important to ensure this resource does not continue to disappear. Download our Native Plants of Coastal Louisiana ID booklet here!
In addition, native plants are best suited to restoration projects. Native plants of the area are hardy, and have features that make them ideal for this climate such as the ability to absorb large amounts of water, or root systems that help hold dunes in place and prevent erosion and landloss. Restoration experts agree that plants that are indigenous to an area should be used in conservation planting and restoration projects to achieve long term sustainability, but ensuring ecosystem stability and genetic integrity of these ecosystems is a major concern. The importance of using locally adapted, tested and proven native plant materials when considering native planting initiatives has long been recognized by conservation professionals, which is why Bayou Land's Vegetative Specialist has been working with, adapting and testing native plant materials as part of the LNPI program since 2007.
As part of our LNPI program, Bayou Land RC&D held native plant identification classes and produced a Plant ID Guide focused on native coastal plants. Bayou Land has distributed over 3,000 of these guides to interested community members, with the help of the EPA who intially funded the project and CWPPRA, who sponsored our second printing. You can click here to access the PDF of the guide.
The purpose of this guide is to help users identify common native plants of Coastal Louisiana. These plants provide valuable habitat to coastal and estuarine communities and play a crucial role in shoreline stabilization. This effort is the first in a series of initiatives aimed at building a collaborative, open-access, community-driven resilience campaign that will offer citizens a means to take an active role in the recovery of the Gulf coastline.
If you would like a hard copy, or know of someone who does, let us know. We've got a lot to give out to communities, but they are going fast!
In 2007, Bayou Land was one of the founding members of the Louisiana Native Plant Initiative. Along with the Department of Biological Sciences at Nicholls State University (NSU) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Bayou Land realized the existing need to create a comprehensive plant materials program to collect, increase and release locally adapted ecotypes of native grasses, forbs, and legumes into Louisiana. For the reasons described on the left, LNPI was created with the mission to help collect, preserve, increase, and study native grasses, forbs, and legumes assembled from Louisiana ecosystems.
Initially the efforts of the LNPI program were directed to grassland habitats associated with coastal prairie and pineland forests. Bayou Land’s program at the Nicholls Farm has since grown to include coastal terrestrial habitat such as maritime forest and marsh ridge, beach and dune plant associations, and grasslands forest associations. Bayou Land’s vegetative specialist Gary Fine is currently assisting the U.S. Forest Service to collect, increase, and establish a native plant nursery at the Kisatchie National Forest near Pineville, Louisiana.
The native plant assemblies that Bayou Land currently works with include:
• Big Bluestem
• Yellow Wild Indigo
• Ashy Sunflower
• Gulf Muhly
• Live Oak Tree
• Gulf Bluestem
• Slender Rosinweed
• Eastern Gamagrass
• Illinois Bundleflower
• Black Needlerush
• Little Bluestem
• Seashore Dropseed
• Smooth Cordgrass
• Narrowleaf Mountainmint
• Texas Coneflower
• Rough Coneflower
Below are links to Yearly Reports from the native plant work that Bayou Land and its partners have been doing at Nicholls State Univesrity Farm for the past few years. Here you can find detailed information on these plant assemblies listed above; such as pictures, growth habitat, seed production, plot increases, and much more.
Bayou Land can set up a private tour of our facilities at the Nicholls State Farm in Thibodaux at your request! Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our production capabilities.
Gary Fine • Vegetative Specialist