Identifying and Preventing Plant Extinction Events
Extinction rates are expected to increase as we move through the Anthropocene (our current geologic era), yet we have a poor understanding of what plants have already gone extinct and the reasons for these extinctions. Every extinction is a conservation failure and identifying the reasons for past extinction events may help us prevent future extinctions. In 2021, I led an effort to document the extinct plants of the continental USA and Canada. In this paper, 65 plant taxa were documented of which, 64% were single-site endemics. During this talk I’ll give an overview of plant extinctions in the USA and Canada, give important and exciting updates since the 2021 paper, which include the rediscovery of two species, the development of Extinct in the Wild Gardens, and discuss a new project to identify all the plant taxa of One Known Occurrence (OKOs) in the USA and Canada for priority on-the-ground (in situ) and off site (ex situ) conservation action to prevent extinctions. The ex situ community will play an increasingly important role in preventing plant extinctions in the future.