Greetings!

Hawaii plant conservation could use a helping hand. Hawaii is one of CPC’s four designated hotspot/priority areas for U.S. plant conservation, and Congress is considering an action that can provide significant help. Please read and respond to the note below.

Find direct email links and contact information for the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at www.centerforplantconservation.org/PublicPolicy.html

Senators Akaka and Inouye from Hawaii and Senators Martinez and Nelson from Florida have introduced federal legislation to authorize the federal government to support National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) with: 1) funding for their new $17 million botanical research center which is currently under construction, and 2) providing general support funding for NTBG programs like conservation, research and education starting in 2010. Please see attached bill S 2220. As such, this bill represents an exciting and completely new source of funding for conservation work in Hawaii. The bill can be viewed at www.botany.org/news/newsletters/S-2220-071107.pdf

The bill is scheduled to be heard on Thursday the 8th before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Chipper Wichman, NTBG director and CEO, has been invited by Senator Akaka to visit DC and testify on behalf of this bill.

Chipper Wichman, who is on the CPC Board of Trustees and one of our network directors, notes: “We at NTBG humbly ask that you contact the Subcommittee on National Parks at the information below to support this bill. NTBG’s new botanical research center (http://brc.ntbg.org/) will provide a hurricane proof repository for their library and herbarium and lab-offices. It will also provide 50 years of programmatic growth for our organization and allow us to host many more researchers and conservation staff. Additionally this will be the first LEED certified green building built on Kaua`i. What is almost more important than the support this will provide for our $21 million research center capital campaign is that beginning in 2010 it will create a completely new funding mechanism which we can use to advance conservation in Hawaii and Florida.”

As professsional botanists, you may wish to speak to the importance of Hawaiian plant diversity, and to the important role of botanical gardens as hands-on partners for plant conservation and restoration work. As always, we want you to have the information you need to decide if you are able to speak to policy makers involved in this issue, and wish to draft a few original lines in support of this measure.

Note that:

  • Hawaii is home to 273 listed plant species – approximately 30 percent of the U.S. total. www.fws.gov/endangered/
  • About 600 of the roughly 1,300 native Hawaiian plants meet the criteria for listing as a federal endangered species, but only 273 of them have been listed. Experts attribute the delay to the magnitude of the crisis and budget cuts in federal agencies.
  • Of those 273 listed endangered plant species, 133 have only 20 or fewer individuals left in the wild. Many hang on in only one small location.

Figures originally published in CPC’s special edition Paradise Lost? Hawaii: How Life Came… and is Leaving; updated with new figures of numbers of listed species.

NTBG is a CPC participating instiution and has been involved in plant conservation research and restoration in Hawaii for many years. They have the facilities, staff capability and experience in field collection for ex-situ conservation work securing genetic plant resources as well as reintroduction of imperiled species, invasive species control, and vegetation restoration projects.

Find direct email links and contact information for the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at www.centerforplantconservation.org/PublicPolicy.html

Thank you for your time!

Kathryn Kennedy
BSA Conservation Committee Chair
Botanical Society of America
www.botany.org
www.BotanyConference.org
www.PlantingScience.org

Mission: The Botanical Society of America exists to promote botany, the field of basic science dealing with the study and inquiry into the form, function, development, diversity, reproduction, evolution, and uses of plants and their interactions within the biosphere.

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