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Auburn University Awarded Traditional Section 6 Funding for Plant Life

Published: 10/22/2018

By: Maria Gebhardt

The Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) is one of the first in the state of Alabama to receive funding from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation funding for plant life.  More than $60,000 of traditional Section 6 funding has been awarded for two conservation projects, one for the green pitcher plant and the second for the white fringeless orchid.

A grant for $35,571 will improve habitat at Desoto State Park and increase propagation at Auburn University’s Donald E. Davis Arboretum of the endangered green pitcher plant (Sarracenia oreophila), a carnivorous plant. Arboretum Specialist Patrick Thompson is spearheading the Davis Arboretum’s efforts. A second grant for $26,370 will generate distribution models for the white fringeless orchid, a federally threatened species, to aid fieldwork designed to locate new populations in the wild. This second grant is collaborative work with Alfred Schotz from the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, also housed within the department.

“These grants are the first time that federal endangered species funding has been awarded for Alabama plants,” said Dr. Robert Boyd, Alumni Professor in the Department of Biological Services and Chair of the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance (a statewide group headquartered at the Davis Arboretum). “We are honored to be part of these grants that set a new precedent for Alabama’s plant life.”

The projects will begin in early 2019 and be completed by the end of that year, but Boyd hopes that they will be the foundation on which longer-term progress can be based.

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