Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Southeastern Center for Conservation hosted botanists from NatureServe and Natural Heritage Network Programs from southeastern states for a Ranking workshop October 18-20, 2022. This event is part of a larger project supporting the development of a Regional Species of Greatest Need (RSGCN) list for southeastern plants. The Southeastern Plant Conservation Alliance (SE PCA) is coordinating the creation of this list by working with experts across the region. The SE Plants RSGCN is the first of its kind in the U.S. and will inform State Wildlife Action Plan revision and creation by presenting species with regional responsibility and opportunity for collaboration. This will set actionable priorities for the conservation of rare plants across state boundaries and integrate these activities with broader efforts to conserve wildlife at the regional and national levels.
The SE PCA RSGCN ranking workshop was facilitated by NatureServe and focused on updating Global and Subnational rankings for taxa prioritized as needing status and ranking updates during the RSGCN assessment process. Hybrid participation enabled project leaders and botanists from 13 states to attend live, and coordination of results includes all 15 states in the continental southeast. The goal for the event was to assess and reach consensus on the global ranks of at least 30 of the 50 species supported by the RSGCN project. In total, 71 species were assessed over 3 days. Ranks were assigned to 29% (20) species that were previously not ranked. Overall, 33% (14) species assessed a higher extinction risk and 20% (23) species had a lower extinction risk than previously assigned global ranks indicated. These changes were due to increased knowledge and data availability, higher threats, and evidence of declines.
Learn more about the Southeastern Plants RSGCN project.