Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation

Plant Conservation

What We Manage

California poppy (Eschscholzia californica ssp. mexicana) in New Mexico. Photo BLM NM.The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public lands, from grasslands to high desert, from coastal areas to alpine forests. An immense diversity of native plant communities, many rare or endangered, define the character of these lands. These plant communities support a diversity of wildlife, fish and vital ecological functions.

Within these lands, the BLM manages more than 57 million acres of sagebrush habitat in the Western United States, which support more than 300 species of birds and other wildlife. The BLM also manages desert, riparian, forest, grassland and alpine ecosystems.

The success of the BLM in meeting its multiple use mandate is closely connected to the diversity and abundance of native plants on the public lands. Native plants form the ecosystems that support our quality of life and our economic prosperity. They are the source of food and shelter for wildlife; they cycle and clean fresh water, provide soil stability and ultimately provide the oxygen that animals and humans need to survive.

In addition, native plants define many of our iconic American landscapes, reinforcing our sense of place. The stately Douglas-fir of the Northwest, the majestic redwoods of California, expansive prairie grasses of the Midwest, the tall saguaro cacti of the Southwestern desert, the colorful maples of New England – these are our Treasured Landscapes. The BLM’s Plant Conservation Program helps ensure that America's native plant communities continue to thrive on the public lands.


What We Do

The mission of the BLM’s plant conservation and management activities is to ensure that native plants and native plant communities on public lands are managed, conserved, and/or restored for the benefit of present and future generations. The Program works to reduce or eliminate impacts on native plant communities caused by 21st century challenges such as invasive nonnative plants, climate change, increased development or severe fire cycles.  

As plant and animal species become threatened or endangered because of loss of habitat, and as climate change alters native plant communities, the BLM is placing a renewed emphasis on native plant conservation programs.

The BLM’s work in plant conservation and management is done in partnership with all BLM programs and in cooperation with other federal and state agencies, industry, and the American people to achieve its goals. 
 
Click on the links below for more information.

Note: Case Studies provided in these links represent only a few of the thousands of on-the-ground projects conducted by the BLM and its partners each year. For more information on field-level work, go to www.blm.gov, find the map and click on the state you are interested in. That will take you to the BLM State and Field Office websites.   


Native Plant Materials
Common cowparsnip (Heracleum maximum) collecting in Alaska. Photo by BLM AK.

The Native Plant Materials Development Program coordinates the development of native plants on a national scale. As part of this, the Seeds of Success program collects seeds and preserves plant diversity. 

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Native Plant Communities
A restoration team plants grass plugs in Paradise Ridge Prairie for the BLM Arcata Field Office.

The BLM conserves and restores native plant communities on public lands, working across all BLM programs as well as with other Federal, State, local and private sector entities.

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Rare or of Cultural Value
Interns monitoring the condition of a BLM sensitive cactus, Night-Blooming Cereus (Peniocereus greggii var. greggii), fall 2013, Hidalgo Co., NM. Photo by Mike Howard

More than 700 rare plant species are found on BLM lands, 400 of which are found only on BLM lands. In addition, many plants are of cultural significance to Native Americans.

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Pollinators
Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum) with yellow swallowtail butterfly in Wyoming. Photo by BLM WY.

Bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators are essential to our nation’s food supply and to healthy wildlands. The BLM participates in the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign to ensure the health of pollinating animals.

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Invasive Plants
An invasion of cheatgrass in New Mexico. Photo by BLM Farmington Field Office.

One of the greatest challenges to promoting ecosystem health is the rapid expansion of invasive plants. The BLM controls invasions of exotic non-native plants on public lands and replaces them with native plant commmunities where possible.

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More Information
Dwarf purple monkeyflower (Mimulus nanus) growing in California. Photo by BLM CA.

Click here for links to more information and resources on BLM and partner plant conservation programs, including internships, the Native Plant Conservation Alliance, and the BLM's regional native plant programs.

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