Conservation & Recovery

At least 1,120 kinds of plants are considered to be endangered in the State of California.  Most of them are found no where else in the world.  Such taxa, ranked by the California Department of Fish and Game’s Natural Heritage Program as 1B, and are often represented by fewer than 5 extant populations, often with fewer than 1,000 individuals.  In nearly all cases, 1B taxa have shown a significant decline, based on historic records.  At least 230 are found in California’s central coast region.

Conservation of endangered species requires careful planning, based on an understanding of life history and ecological requirements.  Efforts directed at recovery of natural populations, or reintroduction to new localities, often involve studies of pollination biology, specific soil preferences, and development of propagation protocols important to experimental establishment. 

Learn more about current SBBG research efforts in rare plant recovery and restoration

Rare Plant Monitoring and Recovery

Improved ecological understanding of threatened species is often required to establish successful recovery programs:

image of Ventura marsh milkvetch, photo by Dieter Wilken

The Garden has been involved in several such efforts, including those for the Ventura marsh milkvetch (Astragalus pycnostachyus var. lanosissimus) and the Santa Cruz Island bush mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus var. nesioticus). 

With the  Ventura marsh milk vetch, Garden studies led to the recovery of the only natural population, identification of suitable reintroduction sites, and establishment of a conservation seed collection.

Read more in this article: Ventura marsh Milkvetch - A Rare Re-discovery by Sheri Mayta and Mary Meyer 

image of Santa Cruz Island bush mallow, photo by Dieter Wilken

Work on Santa Cruz Island bush mallow was accomplished through a cooperative effort with the National Park Service and the USGS Biological Research Division, resulting in establishment of 4 new populations and development of a comprehensive seed bank collection.

Read more in these articles by Kathryn McEachern and Dieter H. Wilken:

Nine Endangered Taxa, One Recovering Ecosystem: Identifying Common Ground For Recovery On Santa Cruz Island, California

Experimental Reintroduction Of The Federally Endangered Santa Cruz Island Bush Mallow (Malcothamnus fasciculatus var. nesioticus)