Abstract Detail

Address of the BSA President-Elect - Vivian Negron-Ortiz

Negron-Ortiz, Vivian [1].

Plants, Science, and the Endangered Species Act.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the law for protection and preservation of federally listed species. Although the ESA was enacted in 1973, plants were first listed four years later, and since 1994 are the taxonomic group with the highest number of listed taxa and the least allocated expenditures. Most listed plants are ‘endangered’ rather than ‘threatened’ and are found in the Pacific, Pacific Southwest, and Southeast regions; the families most represented are Asteraceae (11%), Campanulaceae (9%), and Lamiaceae (5%). Once a species is listed, it is safeguarded under the ESA's protective authority until it is ‘recovered,’ a process that currently takes on average 25 years for plants. Since its inception, the best-available information (‘science’) has been used to inform and support the decision-making of listing and recovery, but many decisions regarding estimates of extinction risk are made in the face of uncertainty. To document key milestones of the science being used over time to address the listing and recovery, I interviewed several retired and active Fish Wildlife Service scientists, including two botanists appointed in 1970’s. These interviews revealed the applicability of research in reproduction, seed ecology, and genetics, and the importance of plant surveys and finding new populations as key elements. It is evident that plant scientists and sound science play important roles in preventing the extinction of plant species that are rare and listed under the ESA.

1 - Florida Ecological Services Field Office, USFWS, Panama City, FL, 32405, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Special Presentations
Number: S09001
Abstract ID:160
Candidate for Awards:None

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