Conservation and Protection

Conservation and Protection

Carnivorous Plant Conservation and Protection

Worldwide, there is an ever increasing danger of the reduction and loss of Carnivorous Plants. Most of these threats are from human encroachment upon the habitats of Carnivorous Plants, which are often slow-growing plants. There is some pressure upon Carnivorous Plants 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-bred plants. This, of course, should be discouraged. Teachers should help make this point clear to students when they promote the conservation of not only Carnivorous Plants but also other wildflowers, and of course fragile habitats.

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 Carnivorous Plants. Large development projects continue to take their toll as Carnivorous Plant habitat is greatly reduced each year worldwide.

A less obvious threat to Carnivorous Plants is the reduction of burning programs. Carnivorous Plants do not compete well with other plants. In areas where grasses, sedges and trees are encroaching upon the Carnivorous Plant habitat, the Carnivorous Plant’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 Carnivorous Plants. Stanley Rehder, a Carnivorous Plant enthusiast, in the Wilmington, NC area once told me that Smokey the Bear is the #1 enemy of Carnivorous Plants.

Conservation is essential to the survival of Carnivorous Plants. 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 Carnivorous Plants 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 Carnivorous Plants is nursery propagation. Many Carnivorous Plants are easily propagated and, with the ever increasing interest in them, there is a growing number of Carnivorous Plant nurseries. It is an important practice to purchase Carnivorous Plants 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 Carnivorous Plants 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 Carnivorous Plant conservation efforts. Here is a list of carnivorous plant societies in the US.

Mid-Atlantic Carnivorous Plant Society
International Carnivorous Plant Society
Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Society
Colorado Carnivorous Plant Society
Los Angeles Carnivorous Plant Society
New England Carnivorous Plant Society
Ohio Carnivorous Plant Society
St. Louis Carnivorous Plant Society

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