Safeguarding and Restoration on National Forests
The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. ABG works to advance the science of conservation through research collaborations and native species recovery programs. The Conservation & Research Department’s plant conservation collections and field work focus on propagation of under-represented endangered plant groups and the restoration and management of their habitats. The key to the success of the conservation program is based on the high level of horticultural and botanical expertise of its staff members. The horticulture team at ABG specializes in collections management and propagation techniques from field to nursery production. These include safeguarding plant material from wild populations in cultivation (ex situ), as well as in the wild (in situ) through augmentation of populations and reintroduction of plants into native habitats. The Garden has over 20 years of experience in the conservation and recovery of rare and threatened plant species through propagation, collaborative restoration, and habitat management.
Summary of efforts promoting successful conservation on National Forests: As a founding and lead member of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, ABG has pioneered mountain bog conservation efforts and contributed greatly to the success of the program. The GPCA Safeguarding Database and Mountain Bog safeguarding program became so successful from 2010 - 2013 that cooperative funding and matching contributions from ABG have led to a permanent, full-time position being created. An important component of this work is continued coordination of restoration work on the Chattahoochee National Forest, as well as managing the Safeguarding Database. These efforts have expanded to the regional level and support conservation planning, networking, and safeguarding activities across the Southeastern U.S.
- Restoration efforts for Pine-Oak Woodlands in the upper Piedmont, including ex situ and in situ safeguarding and recovery efforts for the Federally Endangered smooth coneflower (Echinacea laevigata) and Candidate Species Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) on the Chattahoochee National Forest.
- Restoration efforts for Mountain Bog habitat across Northeast Georgia, including ex situ and in situ safeguarding and recovery efforts for the Federally Threatened swamp pink (Helonias bullata) and At-Risk Species montane purple pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea montana) on the Chattahoochee National Forest.
- Habitat preservation, ex situ, and in situ conservation for the Federally Endangered persistent trillium (Trillium persistens) and At-Risk Species Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) at Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia Power property, and the Chattahoochee National Forest.
- Management consulting surveys, and monitoring of the Federally Endangered small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) on the Chattahoochee National Forest.
- Management consulting, propagation, and reintroduction of the Federally Threatened white fringeless orchid (Platanthera integrilabia) for the Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests.
- Seed banking and research for Candidate Species Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) for the Chattahoochee, Sumter, and Talladega National Forests.
- Propagation and augmentation of the Federally Threatened Virginia spiraea (Spiraea virginiana) for the Nantahala National Forest.
- Propagation and augmentation of the State listed Canby’s mountain-lover (Paxistima canbyi) for the Daniel Boone National Forest.
- Development of the GPCA Safeguarding Database - centralizing and documenting ex situ collections, in situ augmentations and reintroductions, repeated monitoring data and survivorship, and collaborative management for priority species across Georgia and the Southeast.
- Initiation and coordination of yearly planning meetings to review accomplishments, set goals, coordinate work days (including tasks, volunteers, and data collection), and integrate and share data through the safeguarding database and customized reports on behalf of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
- Coordinate the Southeastern Partners in Plant Conservation inaugural conference, hosting partners from 22 U.S States and Territories to focus on At-Risk and Listed Species and develop a regional network for plant conservation