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The Native Herb Conservation Committee
The Native Herb Conservation Committee seeks to research, develop, and provide information on the status of our native herbs and the sustainable gardening practices necessary to support their conservation.
Current projects include the Notable Native Herb of the Year, Alternatives to Invasive Species, and Literature Listing.
The NHC committee works closely with the GreenBridges project and Promising Plants and falls under the Botany & Horticulture Chair of the HSA Board of Directors.
Conservation and sustainable gardening
Conserving the biodiversity and health of native plants and ecosystems is essential to a healthy planet. We have a growing understanding of the complexities of ecosystems, in which each plant, the soil, insect, bird and animal life, invertebrates and other organisms, water, air, temperature, and elevation all work together to maintain ecosystem integrity. It is impossible to know the full ramifications of the loss of one or more species in this intricate biological web of life.
There is an urgent need to develop and implement effective plant conservation programs before more species and communities become critically endangered. There are plant species that remain unknown to us. In California, more than 200 new species have been discovered in the last 25 years. And fifty new plant species have been discovered in Utah and Nevada during the past fifteen years. Some of these species were already threatened at the time they were discovered.
Native plant conservation strategies not only protect the most imperiled species, but ensure the long-term survival of all native plant species and plant communities. With enactment of the Endangered Species Act came funding for governmental and research agencies to develop recovery and conservation plans, as well as plans for continued monitoring of imperiled species. Allocations have fluctuated over the years, however, and there has been fragmentation of conservation efforts, leaving plants and ecosystems at continuing risk.
In 2002, the Herb Society of America, Inc. signed on as a member of the Plant Conservation Alliance, a consortium of ten federal government agencies and more than 200 non-federal cooperators representing biologists, botanists, horticulturists, resource management consultants, special interest groups, non-profit organizations, concerned citizens, nature lovers, and gardeners. All share in the Plant Conservation Alliance mission:
To protect native plants by ensuring that native plant populations and their communities are maintained, enhanced, and restored.
As a Cooperator and as a respected plant organization, the Herb Society of America has many opportunities to establish a public presence on issues of native plant conservation and restoration, as well as to nourish the education of its members and the general public on those same issues.
• What is a Native Herb?
• How do I start adding native herbs?
• What native herbs are best for my area?
• Where can I obtain seeds or native herb plants?
• How can I have a more sustainable landscape?