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Prioritizing Plant Species for Conservation

In response to a need for better information about the location and status of rare and endemic plant species in the Northeast region, a team of botanists led by NatureServe conducted a broad-scale conservation assessment for vascular plants that occur from Virginia to Maritime Canada. The resulting report provides a prioritized list of rare, highly threatened, declining, or sensitive plant species identified for conservation action that can inform initiatives to protect ecological systems from the ground up.

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Prioritization and Conservation Status of Rare Plants in the North Atlantic:

Additional Resources

Link to webinar: View a streaming recording of the Science Seminar presentation on the Prioritization and Conservation Status of Rare Plants in North Atlantic led by Anne Frances from NatureServe on November 7, 2017

Technical description

The North Atlantic Region of the United States and Canada boasts diverse habitats, from coasts to mountains, that support endemic and rare plant species. However, recent conservation actions and prioritization efforts in this region have neglected to include plants. We conducted a broad-scale conservation assessment for vascular plants that occur in the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC). The primary outcome is a prioritized list of rare, highly threatened, declining, or sensitive plant species identified for conservation action.

In close collaboration with Natural Heritage Botanists and other partners, we developed a list of vascular plant taxa of conservation concern for the region. We used the best available scientific data including Element Occurrences, published literature, and expert knowledge to develop a comprehensive list of over 3,135 vascular plant taxa for prioritization. This list of potential taxa was narrowed to approximately 1,200 taxa that were evaluated for their conservation priority in the North Atlantic region. For each taxon, we developed regional ranks (R-ranks), updated Global Ranks, documented threats and trends, and identified gaps in conservation knowledge. Of the evaluated taxa, 431 had R-ranks of R1 (Regionally Critically Imperiled), R2 (Regionally Imperiled), or R3 (Regionally Vulnerable). This group of 431 vascular plants were determined to be the highest conservation priorities for the NALCC.

Project Contact(s):

, Lead Botanist for NatureServe 

LCC Staff Contact(s):

Scott Schwenk, Science Coordinator 

Prioritizing Plant Species for Conservation
Product Type(s):
Foundation Information
Maps, Spatial Datasets, and Databases
Assessments and Research Results
Reports
Resource Type: Plants
Conservation Targets: Terrestrial and non-tidal wetland
Conservation Framework: Biological Planning
Threats/Stressors: Climate change impacts
Conservation Action: Site/area protection, Site/area management, Invasive/problematic species control, Habitat and natural process restoration, Species management, Species recovery

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