Colorado, USA: Plant Conservation Initiative and "The Forgotten Majority"


A new conservation partnership in Colorado aims to protect endemic species in the state well into the next decade.

The Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative seeks to secure on-the-ground protection for all of Colorado's imperiled plant species during the next 10 years. Colorado is one of a minority of states that, shamefully, has no plant protection statutes.picture of pretty pink flower

"Rare plants are the 'forgotten majority.' So often people focus on the more charismatic large animals, but 75 per cent of the imperiled species in Colorado are plants, many of those are found nowhere else in the world," said Betsy Neely, senior conservation planner for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado.

Mirabilis rotundifolia


According to the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, 119 of the state's 155 endangered species are plants and are considered globally threatened or at significant risk of extinction. More than 68 of these plants only occur in Colorado.

picture of delicate pale flowers that look like butterfliesColorado is one of the fastest growing states in the United States and as residential development and infrastructure projects increase habitats are increasingly squeezed. But the other threat that stalks Colorado's plants is climate change.

Gaura neomexicana


"Climate change is a particularly serious threat to specialised habitats like alpine environments because if plants are restricted to specific habitats they don't have many options for moving when the climate changes," said Neely.

Plant Talk hopes to keep you up to date with news from this initiative.

picture of unusual golden yellow flowers

Mentzelia chrysantha