Plant diversity is being lost at an alarming rate. It is this same diversity that supports human livelihoods and many of our most precious natural resources. One of FWBG|BRIT’s major goals is to raise awareness of the value plants bring to life, and the threats they face worldwide. FWBG|BRIT is committed to working toward conserving plant diversity at home in Texas, and around the world.
To prevent plant extinction in Texas by supporting and maintaining viable, self-supporting, and genetically diverse populations of all Texas plants in their natural habitat, and to collect, store, and manage conservation seed collections for use in research and restoration of rare Texas plants.
Texas is home to 448 rare vascular plant species, including 113 categorized as Critically Imperiled (G1) and at high risk for extinction. For many of these species only a few individual plants remain in the wild. These plants are faced with increasing levels of threat from population growth, urban development, land use changes, invasive species, and climate change. Population monitoring is essential for identifying populations and species in decline and targeting sites for seed collection and habitat restoration. The Texas Plant Conservation Program conducts research on rare Texas plants with projects including species status assessments, predictive habitat models, and population monitoring.
The Conservation Seed Bank collects seed from wild populations of rare plants as an insurance policy against extinction. The seed is used for research and restoration efforts for these rare species. The seed bank is an essential component of the Plant Conservation program at FWBG|BRIT. It provides baseline data and plant materials for research efforts seeking to understand how we can best conserve these species while actively conserving genetic diversity of our most imperiled plants.
For more information on the Texas Plant Conservation Program, please contact Dr. Brooke Byerley Best.