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Carnivorous Plant Conservation & Protection

Worldwide, there is an ever increasing danger of the reduction and loss of CPs. Most of these threats are from human encroachment upon the habitats of CPs, which are often slow-growing plants. There is some pressure upon CPs from over collection of wild plants. Some nurserymen find it easier to collect wild plants than to propagate them. Some private individuals may gather wild plants rather than purchase nursery-breed plants. This, of course, should be discouraged. Teachers should help make this point clear to students when they promote the conservation of not only CPs but also other wildflowers.

Although over collection may be a threat, it hardly compares to the damage done by loss of habitat. Massive drainage programs to make swampland suitable for agriculture or building is, indeed, the largest threat to CPs. Large development projects continue to take their toll as CP habitat is greatly reduced each year worldwide.

A less obvious threat to CPs is the reduction of burning programs. CPs do not compete well with other plants. In areas where grasses, sedges and trees are encroaching upon the CP habitat, the CP’s vigor and numbers reduce dramatically. People often do not want planned burns to occur in their areas. They claim the unsightly result and smoke in the process is not good. This is erroneous. Planned, well-organized and timed burns actually promote a variety of habitats including those necessary for CPs. Stanley Rehder, a CP enthusiast, in the Wilmington, NC area once told me that Smokey the Bear is the #1 enemy of CPs.

Conservation is essential to the survival of CPs. As with all wildflower conservation efforts, this can take many forms. The advantage of controlled-burn programs has already been established. The education of the public to the interest and worth of CPs is an important effort for conservation groups and schools. Efforts must continue in the establishment of nature reserves such as the Green Swamp Area in North Carolina. After all, saving habitat saves the plants. One other way that can go far in the conservation of CPs is nursery propagation. Many CPs are easily propagated and, with the ever increasing interest in them, there is a growing number of CP nurseries. It is an important practice to purchase CPs from ethical nurseries. Remember there is a big difference between nursery-propagated and nursery-grown plants. The latter, of course, could be collected from the wild and merely grown in the nursery until sold.

Finally, a great conservation effort is already being made by several carnivorous plant societies. It would be worthwhile for anyone who is interested in CPs to join one of these societies and help them in their efforts. Not only are they an excellent source of information and materials, but the camaraderie offered by such groups can go far in CP conservation efforts. There is a list of carnivorous plant societies latter in this website.

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