1. Manage Threats to Protect Founders:
Founders are the remaining wild plants from which PEPP strives to collect propagules. With the loss of each founder, genetic diversity is lost, and the species takes one step closer toward extinction.
Threat Management Activities:
2. Monitor Founders and Outplantings:
The PEPP team routinely visits PEP species founders and outplants to assess the health of the plants. Monitoring PEP species’ vigor, threats, population size, and phenology (flowering and fruiting season) allows PEPP to judge the effectiveness of our conservation program and plan for future management.
3. Collect Propagules:
The PEPP team collects propagules (fruit, seed, cuttings, pollen, spores, leaf buds, etc.) from as many individuals of PEP species as possible and preserve them at off-site (ex-situ) propagation and storage facilities. Ex-situ preservation of plant material is an essential tool that allows land managers time to plan and execute habitat protection and restoration programs, and, ultimately, recover PEP species that could otherwise become extinct. Propagules are in the expert care of partner ex-situ facilities.
4. Population Reintroduction and Augmentation (Outplantings):
PEPP and its partners outplant nursery-grown stock of PEP species to establish new populations (reintroductions) or less frequently, to bolster already existing populations (augmentation). The goal of outplanting is to create uneven aged populations that have balanced genetic representation from as many founders as possible and a balanced sex ratio (i.e. maximizing genetic diversity).
5. Survey for New Founders:
The discovery of additional founders can greatly increase a PEP species’ chance of recovery and, therefore, surveys are high priority activities. Surveys are commonly near current or historical populations in areas with similar terrain, climate and community composition.
On May 16, 2014, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Plant Extinction Prevention Program was a 2013 Recovery Champion! Recovery Champions are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners whose work is advancing the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. We are truly humbled by this great honor. For more information on fellow 2013 Recovery Champions, please click here for the website, or here for the press release.