Monday, January 26, 2009

good news, bad news

My hunch that the stemless pink ladys' slipper being possibly extirpated has been borne out by last spring's visits by the state botanists, who found only thick colonies of buckthorn and multiflora rose where the plants had been last seen. Management is so crucial to our natural areas' health! We need more dedicated volunteer corps all over the state to adopt these natural areas and keep the invasives at bay so that future generations may continue to enjoy and treasure these beauties as we do.

The good news is that with management and volunteer commitment, a few new populations of native orchids are being discovered, or rediscovered, each year. The federally listed prairie white fringed orchid was identified at a new site in northern Illinois last year, after years of population declines. I am hoping to be able to locate and talk with botanists who are studying native orchids in hope of learning what are the most serious threats and the best management strategies for combatting them (and by that, I'm ruling out the ones we already know: loss of habitat to real estate development or agriculture, changes in hydrology, trampling, poaching, and global warming for boreal species).


Dave Coulter said...

Indeed. We're lucky to live in an area that has as many volunteers as we do. Not that we couldn't use more! ;)

orchidartist said...

I learned this year that there are one or possibly two remaining colonies of the stemlesss pink ladyslipper orchid in Illinois. Good news!