Endangered Species Reintroduction and Management

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) is working to recover endangered plants in their native habitats and to prevent their extinction in the wild. Research conducted in CCSD focuses on understanding the causes of rarity and population decline and on developing science-based strategies and solutions for improving the long-term survival of endangered plant species. The research program is carried out in a variety of native habitats, including glades, grasslands, and woodlands, both across the Southeastern United States and at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve.

Current projects include:

• Experimentally reintroducing populations of endangered plants to determine the most appropriate habitat, microenvironmental conditions, and founder genetic and demographic structure
• Determining whether restored and natural populations of rare plant species are demographically and genetically equivalent
• Using demographic monitoring to understand the long-term trends of natural and restored populations of endangered species and to develop conservation and management plans for reversing population decline
• Investigating the habitat requirements of endangered species using experimental life history studies in growth chambers, in the greenhouse, and in the field
• Using meta-analytic techniques to understand the ecological factors and species’ traits associated with successful rare plant reintroductions
• Developing broadly applicable, science-based guidelines for reintroducing populations of rare plants from ex situ collections in botanical gardens
• Using genetic data to understand levels of genetic variation within and among populations of endangered plant species 
Learn more about other conservation science work at CCSD