For decades, MUNBG has played a crucial role in maintaining ex situ(field) populations of rare Newfoundland plants. The northeastern Canadian province is home to a special ecosystem –the limestone barrens of the Great Northern Peninsula. The region is only 1.7% of the province’s area, yet it is home to 35 provincially rare plant species. From these barrens, MUNBG has worked with the Limestone Barrens Species Risk Recovery Team to bank seed of three braya species and a prostrate willow: Long’s braya (Braya longii), Fernald’s braya (Braya fernaldii), low northern rockcress (Braya humilis), and Barren’s willow (Salix jejuna). All are either endemic or near-endemic, and all have endangered or threatened status designations from the Canadian government (COSEWIC). The ex-situ collections of MUNBG support recovery efforts for these species in the wild. The willow is an exceptional species, maintained as a living collection, while the garden collects and curates seed of each of the brayas.
At the request of the government, MUNBG plans to expand their ex situ populations of provincially rare and endangered species. Their team has already worked to secure some of the listed species, and even several under review. Taking on this role for their region demonstrates the garden’s commitment to the environment, one of their core values, as they work towards good stewardship and conservation.
MUNBG also values fostering a sense of place –specifically Newfoundland and Labrador–as well as acting in a sustainable manner, conducting experimentation to drive change, and making connections to engage, learn, and share. This last objective is part of what brought them to the CPC network. With CPC partners, they hope to find support in their efforts to expand their ex-situ programs to include all of the rare, threatened, and endangered species of their region, as well as expand their role as a source of information for those species.
Memorial University Botanical Garden is looking forward to the connections they can make with other conservationists, who may never otherwise have had the opportunity to share ideas, knowledge and information –and CPC is excited to connect with a garden so dedicated to conservation.