Getting everyone involved: Saving the seaside alder
Gibson, Phil , Rice, Stanley .
Getting everyone involved: Saving the seaside alder.
Successful conservation efforts require interaction and coordination among organizations representing different stakeholders and working at a variety of levels and. This is exemplified in work being done on the extremely rare tree species seaside alder (Alnus maritima). Seaside alder exists as three rare subspecies: one on the Delmarva Peninsula; one in south central Oklahoma; and one in northwest Georgia. In contrast, hazel alder (A. serrulata) grows abundantly in wetlands across eastern North America. Because it is unlikely that government action by itself can rescue this species, an interdisciplinary group of botanists working for private and public organizations are taking different approaches to study and protect this rare species. This symposium addresses (1) How did the seaside alder become so rare in the first place, and (2) What is being done to save it from extinction? Seaside alder was likely once widespread in North America, but DNA studies indicate that its current populations are relictual. It is extremely shade intollerant. Researchers are investigating seed germination to identify necessary germination conditions to increase population sizes. Existing individuals sprout vigorously after disturbance, thus survival of the species depends on the persistence and propagation of existing clumps until seedling establishment procedures can be developed. Building on successes of regional conservation groups, The Nature Conservancy is interested in further protecting and using it for wetland reclamation. Public gardens such as the Tulsa Botanic Garden can be involved in planting it extensively for erosion control, public education, and germplasm protection. Species including Ginkgo biloba, Franklinia alatamaha, and Torreya taxifolia that are now rare or extinct in the wild have been saved from extinction because people have planted them in gardens. By encouraging the horticultural use of this species through conservation and botanical education, citizen scientists can learn about plant evolution and participate in an important conservation effort.
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1 - University of Oklahoma
2 - SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, Box 702722, Tulsa, OK, 74170-2722, USA, 580/745-2688
Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Candidate for Awards:None