Long Island is a diverse mosaic of maritime grasslands, pitch pine, oak and beech forests, rivers, streams, tidal marshes, bluffs and beaches that are fragmented by human development. A decline in local biodiversity continues as natural habitats are further encroached upon by more development, agriculture and invasive species.
Conserving biodiversity has long focused on habitat and species. But the importance of protecting genetic biodiversity is gaining momentum. It is possible to obtain seeds for plant species that grow on Long Island, but the genetic basis of these plants is usually not local (e.g., switchgrass seed from Wisconsin). There was limited and, in most cases, no available local sources of grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees of the local genotypes for use in grassland restoration, nursery propagation or landscaping projects.
The Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) was established in 2011 to make available local genotype plant material that is better adapted to Long Island’s unique environmental and cultural conditions. LINPI is a volunteer cooperative effort of over 30 non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, nursery professionals and citizens working together to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem function on Long Island by providing commercial sources of genetically appropriate local (ecotypic) plant materials for use in nursery, landscaping and habitat restoration activities.