Evaluating the Protection of the Alpine Areas of North America and Prioritizing Areas Needing Additional Conservation

The North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation, published in 2020, is a blueprint for protecting alpine plants and ecosystems in the US, Canada, and Mexico, focusing on the role of botanic gardens in this effort. In order to facilitate the protection and conservation of alpine plants, we have developed a map of the alpine areas of North America as well as a map of the land management of these alpine areas. Using the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s protection definitions, we have quantified how much of the alpine of North America is considered “conserved”, and identified areas of low protection. We plan to use this information to work with land managers to increase the protection and conservation of alpine plants, with special attention to the management of Important Plant Areas. Unfortunately, the greatest threat to alpine plants and ecosystems is climate change, which transcends land management boundaries.
Emily Griffoul, Conservation Scientist at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, Colorado, will present our findings so far, as well as progress on the implementation of the Alpine Strategy, and outline how others can join us in these conservation efforts.