Georgia

Safeguarding Mountain Bog and the Mountain Purple Pitcher Plant

Carrie Radcliffe, Atlanta Botanical Garden (SePPCon 2016)

Wetland species are particularly at high risk of extinction. The Mountain Bog Safeguarding is a Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance signature project that seeks to safeguard bog endemics from one of the rarest habitats in Georgia. This entails conservation horticulture, research, education and reintroduction. Meticulous records of a suite of rare bog endemic species kept during ex situ management allow for careful reintroduction to appropriate safeguarding sites in the wild. Carrie reviews the example of Mountain purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea var. montana).

This work was presented at the Southeast Partners in Plant Conservation (SePPCon) 2016 Meeting. Learn more about SePPCon here.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Building Capacity in Plant Conservation

Mary Pfaffko, Georgia Department of Natural Resources & Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance (SePPCon 2016)

Mary Pfafftko, Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division emphasizes that the plant conservation needs can only be done with partnerships. She reviews the key elements of  State Wildlife Action Plans: species of greatest conservation need, key habitats, threats, conservation actions, monitoring plan, revision plan, coordination with federal, state and local agencies and Native American tribes, and public participation. She discusses funding opportunities for private landowners and NGOs, the restrictions on various funding sources, the states in the U.S that have authority to manage plants, and the differences in how each state approaches wildlife and rare plant management/ funding opportunities. She recommends models such as the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance as an effective way to engender collaborations to help conserve plants. She describes Restoring America's Wildlife Act, a national effort to support State Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program and the Georgia Wildflower Preservation Act of 1973.

This work was presented at the Southeast Partners in Plant Conservation (SePPCon) 2016 Meeting. Learn more about SePPCon here.

Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The extremely rare pine snake’s return to the region has been credited to the habitat restoration efforts implemented to support smooth coneflower. Here Clemson University graduate student Brian Hudson holds a male pine snake.
Photo Categories: 
Photo Credit: 
Patrick Ceska

Jennifer Ceska, Heather Alley, Jim Affolter, and Jenny Cruse-Sanders, The State Botanical Garden of Georgia

The Connect to Protect for Biodiversity philosophy and the educational and horticultural methodology launched in Georgia in 2014 from Athens and has spread like a Monarchs on the wing across the entire state since. Georgia gardeners have tremendous opportunity to help support wildlife by layering native plants into their display. We share designs, techniques for getting natives on the ground, species recommendations, and sources for native plants, all with an eye on conservation ethics. Displays can be small like potted plants on a patio or cheerful mailbox gardens. They can also be larger like grand formal displays, loser cottage style compositions, and even pocket prairies along roadsides, driveways, and rights-of-way. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia has been researching species and techniques specific to Georgia for eight years. We also pull best practices and resources from over 320 professionals in both the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance and the Georgia Native Plant Initiative working to close the gap between the demand for native plants by consumers and the availability of native plants from the Green Industry, particularly plants of Georgia provenance. Plant species that have looks and personality, ecological relevance, because we all can Connect to Protect.

Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Emily Coffey, Atlanta Botanical Garden

In October 2018, the Florida panhandle and southwest Georgia were devastated by Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 hurricane with wind bursts up to 200 mph. The entire native range for the critically endangered Florida Torreya (Torreya taxifolia) lay within the hurricane’s path. Initial reports from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Florida’s Torreya State Park estimated 80-90% forest canopy loss across the three-county range of the endangered native conifer. Site visits soon after the hurricane by Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) conservation staff confirmed these estimates, noting downed trees throughout the woodland and ravine habitat where T. taxifolia are found, as well as T. taxifolia individuals buried in the debris or completely crushed by fallen overstory trees.

The scale of damage across T. taxifolia habitat following Hurricane Michael is unprecedented. In order to successfully assess the resilience and recovery of the remaining wild T. taxifolia population, ABG proposed a four-year plan. This plan includes surveys of the known T. taxifolia trees, removal of debris, and collection of cuttings for the safeguarding collections, establishment of baseline research experiments examining abiotic and biotic factors resulting from Hurricane Michael, long-term monitoring, shade vs. sun experiments ex situ, and population genetics research.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Emily E. D. Coffey, Ph.D., Atlanta Botanical Garden

Torreya taxifolia, known as the Florida Torreya, is one of the rarest conifers in the world. Once found as a canopy tree, Torreya is an evergreen dioecious tree endemic to a narrow range of bluffs and ravines adjacent to the Apalachicola River in northwest Florida and extreme southwest Georgia. In the mid-Twentieth Century, this species suffered a catastrophic decline as all reproductive age trees died from a disease (Fusarium torrayae) that remained unknown until very recently. In the decades that followed, this species did not recover. What remains is a population approximately 0.22% of its original size, which is subjected to changes in hydrology, forest structure, heavy browsing by deer, loss of reproduction capability, as well as dieback from fungal disease. Atlanta Botanical Garden’s dedication and efforts to protect Torreya has furthered understanding of its ecology and life cycle as well as the decline of this once majestic species. We present the new in-situ and ex-situ seed experiment we are conducting at ABG as part of the recovery effort for this species.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

Jennifer Ceska,Jenny Cruse Sanders, Jim Affolter, Heather Alley, Linda Chafin and Emily Coffey,The State Botanical Garden of Georgia

A tall and elegant wildflower, Smooth Coneflower was dwindling to extinction on Georgia’s roadsides where seed heads and whole plants were poached or killed by roadside maintenance. With her Master’s thesis demonstrating that endangered plants could be grown from seeds and successfully replanted in safeguarding sites, SBG’s Heather Alley changed the way Smooth Coneflower conservation was carried out in Georgia. SBG has grown more than 1,000 Smooth Coneflower plants since 2000. We have planted 900 Smooth Coneflower plants and sown 3,700 seeds directly into the wild. We work with the GPCA and our volunteers to annually monitor and manage four Smooth Coneflower sites in the wild.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018