Seneca Nation Implements Native Plant Policy


The Seneca Nation of Indians are spearheading a movement to reintroduce more indigenous flora to public landscapes on tribal lands in Upstate New York.

The tribal council unanimously approved a policy that mandates all new landscaping in public spaces on Seneca lands exclusively be comprised of local indigenous species. The new policy also encourages private Seneca landholders to choose local North American flora.

The continued planting of non-native species poses a significant threat to ecosystems and causes harm to the environment, states a Seneca press release. The current Seneca Nation Council is committed to restoring, preserving and maintaining local indigenous plants that are significant to the culture of the Seneca people and that help to maintain the balance of nature. 

The new planting policy puts an official stamp on the Seneca Nation’s ongoing efforts to reintroduce Native species to Seneca territories. To date, over 445 native trees and shrubs have been planted and 25 different species re-introduced into the public landscape, including edible and medicinal culturally significant plants. 

Although the new policy applies exclusively to plants in public spaces, owners of private property at the Seneca Nation are highly encouraged to reintroduce Native species and to remove invasive and introduced Eurasian plants.

This policy is applauded by Dr. Jeremy Pinto, Research Plant Physiologist and Tribal Nursery Specialist with the Forest Service of the US Department of Agriculture: “While it should be well-ingrained in us to preserve and promote the plants that are significant to our respective cultures, a policy like this brings the issues of cultural preservation, invasive species, sustainability, and adaptability to the forefront of everyday management practices in a good way.” 

With this new planting policy, the Seneca Nation has taken a substantial step forward in preserving Seneca culture and protecting and maintaining the Community’s ecological footprint. To learn more about the Seneca Nation of Indians Native Plant Policy or for a list of appropriate native plants visit FoodIsOurMedicine.org.