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Region Ranks High for Biodiversity

ASHLAND, Ore. — If you’ve noticed all the flowers blooming this season, you aren’t alone. More than a hundred people visited the Nature Shop in Ashland to learn about local wildflowers Sunday.

Botanists say the Klamath-Siskiyou region ranks second in North America for wildlife biodiversity. Experts say last year’s wet spring made this a particularly good year for flower blooms. Those flowers are reportedly part of the reason nature enthusiasts visit the area during tourist season. Officials say the wildflowers also indirectly contribute to the area’s economy and agriculture each season.

“Each week there’s a different suite of wildflowers helping to keep the honey bees alive. And the honey bees then pollinate our crops,” said Kristi Mergenthaler with the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy. Mergenthaler says those wildflowers face a number of risks. The biggest risk is human development and non-native, invasive weeds.