Tools for Plant Conservation

The Role of Seed Banks and Botanic Gardens in Plant Conservation.
Michael Wall, Seed Program Manager, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

Population growth, land conversion, and invasive plant species are recognized as three of the leading causes of species extinctions and the extirpation of plant populations. Historically known for their roles in maintaining botanical and display collections botanic gardens have greatly expanded their programs in the past twenty-five years and are playing an ever more active role in plant conservation. Today there are thirty-three member gardens in the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), a national coalition of botanic gardens with active conservation programs, and 525 world-wide member institutions in Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). Botanic gardens have developed strong collaborative roles within the larger conservation community which includes local non-governmental conservation organizations, public land management agencies, and universities. Botanic gardens are also involved within their local communities, increasing public awareness and providing tools, information, and inspiration to help resolve local conservation issues. Although many botanic gardens have active applied-conservation programs, the unique role of the botanic garden is often in the development and practice of ex-situ conservation research, collections management, and public education programs.

PVA (Population Viability Analysis) for Plants.
Kate Kramer. San Jacinto District Botanist San Bernardino National Forest.

(Abstract not yet available)

The California Natural Diversity Data Base.
Roxanne Bittman, Botanist, CNDDB, California Department of Fish and Game.

The California Natural Diversity Database is a statewide computer inventory of the rare plants and animals in California. The CNDDB maintains location information on the highest priority plants and animals in a GIS database and makes these data available to the public for a fee in a variety of ways. RareFind, a PC-based application, allows complex queries of the CNDDB data as well as integration with GIS software such as ArcMap. Information that is free to the public via the internet includes lists of rare taxa, updated quarterly, and general distribution data linked to 7.5-minute quadrangle maps. Submitting information to the Database is most easily done using the internet field survey form. The basis for defining separate “occurrences” of a species as those colonies more than 0.25 miles apart will be discussed. The need for better information on extirpated occurrences and on occurrence ranks will be emphasized

Conservation Genetics as a Tool for Scientists and Managers
Elizabeth A. Friar, Research Scientist, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and Associate Professor, Claremont Graduate University

Advances in molecular biology techniques have made the tools of the geneticist relatively inexpensive and accessible. However, in many cases, understanding of the utility and applicability of these tools has lagged behind their availability. In this presentation, I will briefly overview the current molecular tools. The typical types of questions posed by rare plants and how they can be addressed by conservation genetic techniques will also be discussed. The different questions will be illustrated with examples from the Californian flora and the Hawaiian silversword alliance.

Nuts and Bolts of Plant Conservation: Examples from the San Bernardino National Forest.
Scott Eliason Mountaintop District Botanist, San Bernardino National Forest.

The San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF) supports over a third of the rich flora of California in about one percent of State's total area. This high botanical diversity is rooted in the variability of environmental conditions across a wide range of scales. The flora of the SBNF includes a disproportionately high number of rare endemic and extralimital species. The existence of many rare species combined with extensive multiple uses by the National Forest and its large numbers of visitors has resulted in species being listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act and other important environmental laws. These laws and associated regulations and policies play a central role in funding and carrying out plant conservation work by the Forest Service. The nuts and bolts of plant conservation on the SBNF include gathering information through surveying and monitoring species and their habitats, facilitation of research, conservation planning, habitat protection and habitat restoration.