National Park Service

South Florida/Caribbean I&M Network (SFCN)

Imperiled & Rare Plants Monitoring

The rare Semaphore Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia corallicola).
The rare Semaphore Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia corallicola).

Protocol

Parks and partners are monitoring imperiled & rare plants. SFCN is not developing a protocol but will link to reports and summaries.

Resource Briefs, Reports, and Data

There are currently no additional SFCN resource briefs, reports, or data concerning this monitoring topic.

Importance/Issues

Critically imperiled or rare plant species are important indicators and subjects for monitoring for the following reasons: they will be the first plants to become extirpated if habitat quality declines; they are sensitive to changes in ecosystem processes, such as disruption of pollinator populations,changes in hydrology; sea level rise, and invasive species; they are either endemic to the study region or are at the geographical limits of their ranges and extirpation would result in extinction or a contraction in the species' global range; and if endemic they may be host plants for other rare or endemic organisms, such as invertebrates.


Monitoring Objectives

What are the status and trends in the number of populations, distribution, and population sizes of rare plants?

Approach

Parks have some existing monitoring programs underway, e.g., the state endangered, semaphore pricklypear cactus (Opuntia corallicola) in Biscayne National Park. SFCN will work to link to park and/or partner monitoring summaries. As rare plants are subject to poaching, reports with specific coordinate locations will not be posted. Other monitoring for this vital sign is deferred due to insufficient funding.

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Last Updated: March 28, 2017 Contact Webmaster