2014 New Call for Positions
This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.
102 Plant Conservation Specialist
Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, UC Riverside
Proposed Area of Coverage
California statewide, with an emphasis in Southern California
- Jodie Holt - Main Contact
- Plant Conservation Specialist (pdf), uploaded 05/19/2014 by Jodie Holt
The conservation issues that rare plant face, such as development and climate change, must be addressed at a landscape scale to find effective solutions. This position would provide an opportunity to hire a field plant ecologist who can address plant conservation issues at a scale where progress can be made most effectively. The California Invasive Plant Council works with land mangers throughout California and relies on materials and expertise provided by UCCE specialists.
ANR used to have a genetic resources conservation program that was eventually dis-continued because of the lack of real impact. How would we measure real impact with a position like this? I am also still unclear who, specifically the target audience is. Is it just a few Farm Advisors?
Plant conservation is a top priority in California. The state is home to numerous rare, threatened and endemic plant species. Southern California is also home to approximately 20 million people and conflicts between preserving rare plants and providing opportunities for development are significant. In addition, Southern California has many large areas that have been set aside as preserves being run by a diversity of organizations, from large public agencies, to small organizations, with little interaction between preserve managers and little information about whether this preserve system will be successful for rare organisms. We also have several Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP's) covering large portions of San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties. These plans allow preservation of areas of high importance to plants and animals while allowing development in areas with low biological importance. It is a successful way of balancing the needs of wildlife with the needs of our human economy. Plant conservation is at the core of many of these preserves and HCP's, either through direct conservation of plants or conservation of habitat for threatened and rare animals or for providing public recreational opportunities and other uses. The specialist could have a significant positive impact on many of these lands and conservation plans. Many fundamental questions remain to be resolved for plant conservation from a practical aspect. Given the numerous threats to plants including habitat loss, fragmentation and connectivity, invasive pests and diseases, fire, climate change, pollution, recreation, and increasing the wildland urban interface there are many questions land managers need answered. The list of high priority plant conservation needs in Southern California is long, for example, if current predictions hold, Southern California could lose nearly all of its large oak trees (Coast live oak) in a few decades due to the invasive Gold Spotted Oak Borer. Portions of San Diego County are experiencing losses of up to 90% of large oak trees. Some have estimated up to 90% of Coastal Sage Scrub habitat has already been lost to development and invasive species among other factors. Several rare plant populations in the desert are threatened by solar power development, while several new populations and species have been recently discovered near solar installations. The stakeholders who could benefit from working with this plant conservation specialist are numerous including land mangers, local, state and federal agencies, power companies, conservation organizations, other universities, horticulturalists, and nurseries.
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