Native plant conservation at Fairchild is conducted by the Conservation Team-- a small group of expert botanists and horticulturists who map, monitor, research, and grow plants that are native to South Florida and the Caribbean. Our program objective is to decrease the current rate of loss of our native plants.  We have a diverse array of ongoing and completed projects, including rare plant reintroductions, seed banking, and ecological research.  If you would like to get involved, please consider joining our Connect to Protect Network.

Reintroductions

Fairchild plays an important role in the conservation of South Florida's endangered plants through our rare plant introductions. We have the combination of factors needed to carry out reintroductions: horticultural facilities, a large base of volunteer labor, and scientific expertise. Since 1991, we have facilitated 81 reintroductions of 24 species, in collaboration with land managers at several agencies. We design most reintroductions as experiments, so that while we are returning a native species to a natural area, we are also learning about its ecology and biology.  Some of the species for which we have conducted multiple reintroductions include Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata, Jacquemontia reclinata, Pilosocereus robinii, and Thelypteris patens.


Seed banking

Seeds are a major component of our rare plant collections, as stored seeds take up few resources, but can be sown to provide plants for reintroduction or research.  Since seed storage behavior of subtropical species is difficult to predict, we often conduct experimental tests to help determine optimal seed storage requirements for these species. If seeds are determined to be "orthodox" (good candidates for storage), they are kept in our on-site seed bank and/or sent to the USDA's National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation where they are placed in long-term storage. 

Lantana canescens seeds
Seeds of endangered Lantana canescens, with viable (red-stained) embryos.

Research

In addition to research relating to seeds and plant reintroductions, we also research the relationships between native South Florida plants and their ecosystems, especially in regard to best management and effective restoration practices. Links to some of our recent publications are below; a complete bibliography of recent scientific publications from Fairchild can be found here.  

Conservation Team Field ID guides 

Fairchild's Conservation Team has a deep appreciation for nature in subtropical South Florida, where our plants (and consequently insects and birds) are heavily influenced by the West Indies.  In order to better understand our flora and fauna, we occasionally create informal field guides for our unique region of South Florida.  These guides are free, but we always welcome donations (see below).  We hope you enjoy them!    

Moths of South Florida (PDF)
Ferns of Miami-Dade Preserves (PDF)
More coming soon!

 

Funding sources

Fairchild's Conservation Team is funded in part by grants from several different agencies, as well as by private donors.  We also rely on individual donations, who can make a big impact on our work.  If you wish to donate to the Conservation Team, please contact donorservices@fairchildgarden.org, or call 305-667-1651 ext 3309.  Let them know you would like to support the Conservation Team.  You may also contact Conservation Team Leader Jennifer Possley at jpossley@fairchildgarden.org or ext 3514.  Thank you to our recent supporters, including:

The Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Florida's Endangered Plant Advisory Council
Miami-Dade County, Dept. of Parks Recreation and Open Spaces
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US National Park Service
The Center for Plant Conservation
Broward County Parks and Recreation
Individual private donors