Ex situ conservation measures are one approach that can help support conservation and prevent extinction of endangered plant species. Ex situ conservation refers to the practice of managing species outside their natural habitat, in a stable environment where they can be protected from the threats they face in the wild. This can include the cultivation of plants in botanical gardens or storage of plant material in seed or tissue banks, or both, as is the case of eastern mountain avens.
Ex situ conservation programs, along with conservation efforts in the wild, can help directly address threats to endangered species or offset the effects of those threats, protect against species extinction in cases of ongoing threats, or even restore wild populations.
To determine how the eastern mountain avens ex situ population can best compliment wild conservation efforts like habitat restoration, population monitoring, and ecological research, the Canadian Species Initiative hosted the first-ever detailed assessment of ex situ conservation strategies for a plant species. Following a roadmap developed by the IUCN Conservation Planning Specialist Group, this assessment brought together a diverse group of species experts, including recovery team members and other interested parties, who reviewed current research and threats to eastern mountain avens, and evaluated ex situ conservation strategies to determine what is feasible and would have most significant impact.
The recommendations from the workshop will provide guidance to governments on the best strategies for eastern mountain avens recovery.
In the fight against biodiversity loss and climate change, plant conservation is a crucial issue in Canada requiring the collective efforts of governments, organizations, communities, and individuals. By working together and using proven conservation planning processes and tools, we can ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from Canada’s rich plant heritage.