Welcome to CPC: New Institutional Conservation Partners
The Center for Plant Conservation is pleased to welcome three new plant conservation organizations to our network of Conservation Partners: The Institute for Regional Conservation, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, and United Plant Savers. Now 71 members strong, the CPC network brings together plant conservationists from across North America and is strengthened by the knowledge and experience that each institution brings. Together, our network makes it possible to Save Plants.
Institute for Regional Conservation
Network Partner | Delray Beach, FL
Located in Delray Beach, FL, the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and long-term management of biodiversity on a regional basis, and to the prevention of local extinctions of rare plants, animals, and ecosystems. Founded in 1984, IRC promotes an innovative approach to conservation by seeking to protect – and restore – viable populations of all native plant and animal species within key regions by designing conservation strategies powered by rich, geographically distributed data. Their approach adds critical value to traditional conservation strategies focused on charismatic animals or species with small global ranges, and is especially important in regions of the world where rapid fragmentation of habitats has been experienced or is expected.
For more than two decades IRC has focused its field work in Florida and the Caribbean, but the staff are also engaged in high-level dialog on ecological restoration and biodiversity targets more broadly around the world. They work in four domains: developing regional conservation models to advise and direct conservation strategies by diverse actors across broad regions; applied conservation science for researchers and land managers; ecological restoration and management; and engaging with local communities to bring this work to fruition in the context of sustainability. IRC is particularly interested in supporting CPC’s mission by contributing to the prioritization of species in ex situ collections and the integration of rare species into ecological restoration projects and programs.
Southeastern Grasslands Initiative at Austin Peay State University
Participating Institution | Clarksville, TN
The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) works to conserve, restore, and promote native grasslands of all types throughout the Southeast region, with a focus on all or part of 24 states in what they call the “biogeographic Southeast.” SGI’s Plant Conservation Program and Conservation Seed Bank aims to protect the genetic integrity of populations of rare and declining grassland species. In these programs, SGI partners with public and private landowners and land managers to determine the most beneficial management and conservation actions for the imperiled species and communities in question. In addition to the work focused on rare species, SGI is also working to increase the availability of local ecotype seeds for the restoration of grassland and grassland-associated habitats, including recovery of imperiled species’ habitats.
In addition to various partnerships, further restoration and preservation initiatives are conducted through SGI’s recently-established Prairie Acquisition Fund, which allowed SGI to acquire a property with a rare wet prairie community in Montgomery County, Tennessee that includes rare and increasingly infrequent grassland species. They hope to use this as a catalyst to continue to acquire unique grassland sites that harbor rare species or rare communities in their region. As its rare plant and seed conservation programs continue to grow, SGI is looking forward to networking within the CPC community and contributing to the CPC Best Practices and research.
United Plant Savers
Collaborating Partner | Rutland, OH
Plants have many wondrous uses, including in traditional herbal remedies and modern medicines. However, demand for wild medicinal plant resources, harvesting for the herbal trade, and habitat destruction have all contributed to decreased populations of many imperiled plants. United Plant Savers’ (UpS) mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat, while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. UpS is a nearly 400-acre botanical sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio, dedicated to the conservation of endangered medicinal plants. It includes the Center for Medicinal Plant Conservation, which serves as a public welcome center, museum, library, and more.
In addition to cultivating and protecting habitat for these plants, UpS has been involved in many USDA grants and works with farmers to grow native, in-demand medicinal plants to take pressure off wild populations. They have also developed a list and ranking system for at-risk medicinal plants and work with IUCN’s medicinal plants specialist group to raise awareness and advocate for their protection. UpS brings a fresh perspective to the CPC network with their focus on endangered medicinal plants, supporting their conservation while building a better public understanding of how plants impact our daily lives.