Genetic Diversity and Plant Preservation

15 Feb 2024

Genetic Diversity and Plant Preservation

The fields of agriculture, silviculture, and horticulture have historically focused on selecting “superior” plants to serve the needs of food production, lumber and fiber production, and the human fascination with bigger, longer-blooming, and more colorful ornamental plants. Only recently has the discipline of ecology entered into mainstream gardening. Ecological gardeners tend to be more concerned with creating low maintenance, sustainable, native gardens that provide not only enjoyment for the gardener, but also preserve native plant gene pools while creating habitat for birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other creatures.

Neil provides an overview of the various strategies that different plants have developed for reproduction and adaptation to their environments. The ramifications for the structure of plant gene pools, their genetic diversity, and adaptability to a rapidly changing world are highlighted. Other topics, including ecotypes, nativars, and global warming are presented for the consideration by audience members.

This thought-provoking talk provides an inside perspective on plant reproduction and its implications for preserving and maintaining a diverse genetic bank for native species. Neil embraces a fairly technical topic and makes it understandable and interesting to both native plant enthusiasts and the average gardener.