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Western Center for Native Plant Conservation and Restoration Science

Purpose and Need

The health of ecosystems across the West is increasingly impacted by many factors including climate change and drought. This is challenging land managers with a pressing need for more science-based, integrated restoration methods. To meet that challenge, scientists from the three western U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service research stations – Pacific Northwest (PNW), Pacific Southwest (PSW), and Rocky Mountain (RMRS) Research Stations – chartered a collaborative group called the Western Center for Native Plant Conservation and Restoration Science (WCNP).

The Center’s mission is to address and provide science-based solutions to ongoing challenges in the conservation and restoration of western ecosystems, including impacts from wildland fire, invasive species, climate change and drought, increased occurrence of wildland fire in California chaparral and Great Basin sagebrush, and the decline of pollinators. Participating scientists include research plant physiologists, geneticists, ecologists, botanists, and entomologists with expertise across the entire conservation and restoration process, from plant species selection to identifying appropriate genetic resources to plant propagation to landscape deployment.

PNW field crew collecting species data at the bluebunch wheatgrass experimental site west of Othelo, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)
PNW field crew collecting species data at the bluebunch wheatgrass experimental site west of Othelo, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)

WCNP Goals

  • Deliver state-of-the-art science to land managers focused on plant physiology, seed ecology, plant genetics, rare plant conservation, plant-pollinator relationships, monitoring, and small- to large-scale land restoration with native plants across diverse landscapes of the West.

  • Help the Forest Service address the needs of the American public by supplying, in a cost-effective manner, scientific information to meet the goals of national restoration strategies.

  • Become the “go-to” organization for those seeking to sponsor research and science applications that target native plant conservation, restoration, and reforestation.

Partnering for Success

The WCNP enhances opportunities for sharing equipment and resources, improved access to databases, study areas, or cooperator services, compatibility in science goals and direction, better opportunities for synergistic thinking and networking, and comprehensive spatial and temporal studies.

The Center will maximize existing and future collaborations among scientists and a wide cadre of federal, state, tribal and private organizations toward the common goal of native plant conservation, restoration, and ecosystem resiliency. This collaborative builds on a long legacy of management partnerships with federal and state agencies, seed and seedling producers, and universities that include the Great Basin Native Plant Project; National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries and Genetic Resources; and the Seedlot Selection Tool Project.

Individuals or organizations interested in working with the Center may contact the Center Director, Kas Dumroese.

Center Scientists

Scientist Station Title (expertise)

Cronn, Richard C.

PNW

Research Geneticist

Dumroese, Kasten

RMRS

Research Plant Physiologist

Hanberry, Brice RMRS Research Ecologist

Irwin, Jessica

RMRS

Botanist

Jenson, Scott L.

RMRS

Botanist

Kilkenny, Francis F.

RMRS

Research Biologist

Padgett, Pamela E.

PSW

Research Plant Physiologist

Pinto, Jeremiah R.

RMRS

Research Plant Physiologist

Richardson, Bryce A.

RMRS

Research Geneticist

Runyon, Justin B.

RMRS

Research Entomologist

St Clair, J. Bradley

PNW

Research Geneticist

Wright, Jessica W.

PSW

Research Geneticist

Related Projects


RMRS and PNW field crews training on data collection at bluebunch wheatgrass experimental plot at Central Ferry, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)

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