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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Two approaches to reintroduction: Economy or expense
Year: 2002
Author(s): Glitzenstein, J.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Third Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 104
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Broadly speaking, one might describe two approaches to starting new populations of rare plant species. By analogy with air travel, I will refer to these as first class and economy class. The first class approach, employed by persons or organizations with substantial financial resources, consists of the following: 1) Perform careful quantitative macro-habitat and microhabitat studies so as to most effectively chose an introduction site. 2) Collect genetic data from a variety of populations. 3) Introduce sufficient numbers of plants from a sufficient number of locations to encompass the known genetic variation. 4) Utilize sophisticated demographic monitoring to carefully project future population trends and assess risk events. If you can afford it, this is the way to go. The economy approach, which can be employed by those with limited resources but substantial field experience, includes the following steps: 1) Choose an introduction site based on easily evaluated qualitative criteria, e.g., soils maps and common plant associates. 2) Introduce seeds or seedlings at ecologically appropriate times; pay careful attention to rainfall events and frosts and protect new plants if necessary. 3) Don’t worry about genetics in the short term but maintain a long-term goal of gradually adding to genetic diversity. 4) Introduce as many plants as practical at any single point in time but gradually increase population size over the long-term. 5) Utilize the Menges-Gordon approach to population monitoring. Because it is low cost, the economy approach can be used to simultaneously initiate many new rare plant populations with minimal effort. We have been utilizing this approach to start multiple new populations of rare and common longleaf pine ground-layer plants on sites ranging from research plots in Francis Marion National Forest, SC, to our front lawn, a Paspalum notatum savanna on a sand ridge near Tallahassee, FL. We conclude that starting new populations of longleaf pine ground-layer species may be relatively simple and, if practices by enough individuals, may contribute substantially to the long-term persistence of those species.
Publisher: The North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC, October 1-3, 2002. Omnipress, Madison, WI
Editor(s): J. Randall