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U.S. Forest Service

Celebrating Wildflowers

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Celebrating Wildflowers is dedicated to the enjoyment of the thousands of wildflowers growing on our national forests and grasslands, and to educating the public about the many values of native plants.

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Celebrating Wildflowers News


More than Monarchs: Restoring Ecosystems

Posted October 3, 2019

Honeybee on an aster. Honeybee on an aster. Photo by Candy Sarikonda, courtesy Monarch Joint Venture.

While monarchs are intrinsically important, conserving monarchs matters for more than just their own protection. Monarch Joint Venture is exploring the ways that monarch habitat and conservation helps people, other wildlife and the environment in the “More than Monarchs” series. 

Read more about restoring ecosystems on Monarch Joint Venture…

Be Amazed by the Colors of Fall

Posted September 27, 2019

Colorful red maple leaves, a misty lake in the background Fall colors at Cass Lake, Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota. (Forest Service photo.)

There are so many beautiful songs and poems written about autumn. And images! Amazing pictures and videos of trees and flowers aglow with brilliant reds, yellows and oranges among the many iridescent shades of the color spectrum.

This wonderfully vivid season also brings out the adventurers among us. A nice hike or walk in a national forest or grassland becomes suddenly awash with color and you feel like you’re walking through a land of enchantment.

Read more about the colors of fall and Fall Wildlfowers on Celebrating Widlflowers.

Best Management Practices for Pollinators on Western Rangelands

Posted September 12, 2019

Publication cover.

Rangelands comprise the majority of public lands in the western United States, spanning a huge diversity of ecological regions, habitat types, and elevations—from grasslands to sagebrush steppe to pinyon-juniper woodlands to mountain meadows—and supporting some of the highest diversity of bee species in the country, as well as many butterflies, moths, and other pollinators. Many pollinator species in the West are declining and at-risk due to stressors including habitat loss, pesticides, disease, and the effects of climate change. A lack of pollinators on rangelands can have major ecological and economic impacts.

To help land managers incorporate pollinator-friendly practices into rangeland management, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has published Best Management Practices for Pollinators on Western Rangelands. These best management practices (BMPs) were developed for federally managed rangelands that span the eleven western United States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Read more about BMPs for Pollinators on Western Rangelands…

Getting climate-smart with seeds: How a new software tool helps prepare landscapes for expected future conditions

Posted September 5, 2019

A young woman taking a picture of a monarch butterfly with her smartphone. The web-based Climate-Smart Restoration Tool helps improve the seed selection process, which is a key part of ecosystem restoration and climate change resilience. Seed transfer limits are mapped based on user-designated geographic locations.

These days, there’s a lot of vulnerability associated with the Artemisia keystone species and its related ecosystems. Human development, overgrazing, severe fires, and encroachment by cheatgrass and pinyon-juniper woodlands have all reduced or degraded sagebrush ecosystems. It’s been estimated that less than 10 percent of U.S. sagebrush habitat is unspoiled. Greater sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, and hundreds of other sagebrush-dependent species are particularly vulnerable to current and expected habitat disruption, including projected climate change.

One scientist whose research is helping to restore these ecosystems is Bryce Richardson, a research geneticist for the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Moscow, Idaho. Richardson’s work involves identifying sagebrush “seed zones”, geographic areas in which seed can be relocated and remain adapted to environmental conditions.

Read more about getting climate smart…

The Third Trinational Monarch Monitoring Blitz Was a Success Thanks to You

Posted September 3, 2019

A young woman taking a picture of a monarch butterfly with her smartphone.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is pleased to announce the results of the third annual Trinational Monarch Monitoring Blitz (the Blitz). For a week, hundreds of volunteers in Canada, Mexico and the United States helped monarch experts gain more information to enable better understanding of the distribution of the migratory monarch butterfly, an emblematic North American species.

Read more about the monarch monitoring blitz success…

More than Monarchs: Climate Change

Posted August 27, 2019

Field of milkweed. Milkweed. Photo by Wendy Caldwell.

Monarchs and humans are vulnerable in a changing climate. Planting native plants not only creates monarch habitat, but also stores CO2.

Why Monarchs? While monarchs are intrinsically important, conserving monarchs matters for more than just their own protection. We’re exploring the ways that monarch habitat and conservation helps people, other wildlife and the environment in this ‘More Than Monarchs’ series!

Read more about monarchs and climate change…

Monarch Conservation Webinar - Urban Monarch Butterfly Conservation

Posted August 21, 2019

Urban Monarch Butterfly Conservation graphic.

Please join us for next week's Monarch Conservation Webinar, Tuesday, August 27th at 2PM EDT (1pm Central, 12pm Mountain, 11am Pacific).

We often think of urban areas as dead zones for wildlife habitat. However, cities can play a surprising role in conserving monarchs and pollinators. In this webinar, we'll hear success stories and how you can get involved in conserving monarchs in cities from the Field Museum's Urban Monarch Conservation program, the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, and the National Wildlife Federation's Mayor's Monarch Pledge.

Register…

Conserving Rare Oak Species in the United States

Posted August 5, 2019

Mowing on the Farm: Guidelines for Protecting Pollinators cover.

With support from the USDA Forest Service, The Morton Arboretum and Botanic Gardens Conservation International United States, have just published a comprehensive Conservation Gap Analysis of Native U.S. Oaks. Results from the analysis provide natural resource land managers and botanical gardens with a roadmap for implementing the crucially important conservation actions necessary to protect rare U.S. oak species.

Oaks are critical to the health and function of forest and shrubland ecosystems in the United States, providing valuable habitat for pollinators and food for birds and mammals. However, many native oaks are threatened with extinction in the wild by such factors as climate change, fire suppression, urban development and pests/pathogens.

Learn more about conserving rare oak species…

Read more past Celebrating Wildflower News…