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Thread: Ethics of habitat restoration...?

  1. #1
    Chicxulub's Avatar
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    Ethics of habitat restoration...?

    Hello all.

    As some of you may know from my other recent thread, I have recently completed my second tour of duty in the Army and I am now home after eight years away. Now that I am back, I am once again managing my grandmother's acreage for her, acreage that is prime habitat for CPs. The plants that used to inhabit her land in northeast Florida were Sarracenia minor, Sarracenia psittacina, Sarracenia flava, several tiny, very Droseras of in-determinant species and Pinguicula caerulea.

    All of the plants except S. minor and P. caerulea have always been relatively uncommon on her land. Now that I am back and taking care of her property for her as I have always done, I wish to restore the habitat to its prime condition while also keeping her yard clear and pretty (as she wants it). I don't see a reason why these goals have to be counter-productive.

    My question is, what would be the ethical considerations of reintroducing these plants? Since my return, I have been unsuccessful in identifying any S. flava or Drosera. The S. minor are doing well but not as well as they used to, the Pings are thriving and the S. psittacina is present but very sparse. I would especially like to supplement the existing S. psittacina with plants from elsewhere and would like to re-establish a population of S. flava (assuming I don't find some still, I've not covered every square inch of land yet; I don't think I've covered every square inch of land in the 23 years that she's owned the place!)

    The reason that these plants died back is likely due to the fact that her land was primarily pine savanna until about five years ago when she had the pines harvested. The secondary growth has gone crazy in the last five years and has choked out the native grasses and CPs. She is entirely opposed to the idea of a controlled burn (I can't say that I entirely blame her), but I am able to brush hog (a giant, pull behind mower) the property to control the secondary growth. I am hesitant to spray glyphosate for fear of killing desirable plants. I will be planting new longleaf pine over the next few years to help with naturally restoring the ecosystem.

    I know that poaching wild plants is a major no-no, even if it is for habitat restoration elsewhere. What would the best route of acquiring new plants to add to this ecosystem be? Do I just go to an online nursery and pick out some S. flava and S. psittacina and stick them in the dirt or should there be more thought to go into this process?

    I've got a hearty grasp on how to control the land, I just need help figuring out how to decide which morphs to add and what would be the ideal place from which to acquire them.

    Thank you for your time,

    Rob
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  2. #2
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with this as long as the plants in question are indeed indigenous to the area. If local populations still exist it would be better to obtain seeds or plants (with permission and/or permits) from them rather than introduce genetic material of what may be forms or varieties not indigenous to the locality.
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    Plant Whisperer Bio's Avatar
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    I agree. Forms and varieties of reintroduced plants should be as close as possible to the genetics of the original plants.

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    Talking to other local landowners about harvesting some seed is probably your best bet. You might also contact Michael Wang as he has plants from many locations & may have some local-to-you forms.
    All the best,
    Ron
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    theplantman's Avatar
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    I highly recommend speaking first and foremost before any private landowners to (1) the fish and wildlife service and (2) your state department of natural resources. Then I would consider groups like the Nature Conservancy or Park Service (i.e. in the sense they might have places you can obtain material). Private landowners and Mike Wang should be IMO your last resort and you should keep all permission and other information in writing.

    Your goals are in the right place. I wish you the absolute best with this endeavor!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by theplantman View Post
    I highly recommend speaking first and foremost before any private landowners to (1) the fish and wildlife service and (2) your state department of natural resources. Then I would consider groups like the Nature Conservancy or Park Service (i.e. in the sense they might have places you can obtain material). Private landowners and Mike Wang should be IMO your last resort and you should keep all permission and other information in writing.

    Your goals are in the right place. I wish you the absolute best with this endeavor!!
    Hi Rob:

    Meadowview is expert atr restoring longleaf pine/pitcher plant ecosystems like yours. Prescribed fire is the BEST habitat maintenance that you could do. In the absence of fire, the next best substitute is bush-hogging, which you are doing. However, bush-hogging does not provide all the benefits of fire.

    In your situation I would be very reluctant to attemp to "reintroduce" anything since it is likely that all the players are still there, just inhibited from lack of fire. DO NOT use glyphosate anywhere near your bogs, you will kill or damage the plants you want to protect.

    Perhaps we can arrange a visit in the fall when I go to the longleaf pine conference in Mobile, AL. I could give you some site recommendations for restoration.

    Sincerely,

    Phil Sheridan, Ph.D.
    President and Director
    Meadowview Biological
    Research Station

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    Chicxulub's Avatar
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    Dr. Sheridan,

    Thank you for the feedback and the offer! It is greatly appreciated. I suspect however that my grandmother's land might be a bit far from where you'll be for you to visit. Her land is just over the St. Mary's river east of the Okefenokee. I'm quite flattered by even having the offer though
    Chicxulub on Facebook || Chicxulub on Instagram

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