Assigning NatureServe Conservation Status Ranks to Rare Texas Plants
NatureServe Conservation Status Ranks assess the conservation status of species at the global, national, and sub-national scale (G-rank, N-rank, and S-rank, respectively). These ranks assess the risk of species extinction at the global scale, or extirpation at the national and subnational scales. A standardized methodology and rank calculator have been developed to remove the ambiguity from the process of assigning ranks and ensure a transparent, consistent, and rigorous assessment to justify ranks. Consistency and transparency are essential as these ranks are widely used by conservation professionals, private organizations, and government agencies, and they often form the baseline for management of rare species (Faber-Langendoen et al. 2012).
NatureServe conservation ranks have been assessed for species in the state of Texas, but the presence of new information and new threats warrants a reassessment of the ranks. Texas Parks and Wildlife is responsible for assessing the almost 450 plant taxa on the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) list in the Texas Conservation Action Plan (2012). A complete re-assessment of all SGCN is needed and is currently underway by TPWD using the NatureServe Rank Calculator. BRIT botanists received a Conservation License Plate Grant to re-assess ranks for several rare species in North Central Texas, as well as several species which are being evaluated for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
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