Featured Projects - Preservation

FNPS has a hands-on approach to conservation.  The projects listed here are large conservation and restoration projects involving many FNPS members and FNPS leaders in multiple capacities.  They range from buying and managing land to improving the protection and management of that land for target species, to major relocations of rare plants from areas to be developed or otherwise made unsuited to areas where the species can be protected and managed and their habitats improved.

In 2019, Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) completed the purchase of 12.48 acres to preserve important habitat. This represents the first purchase of lands significant to the conservation of native plants by FNPS.

FNPS wrote a management plan for the property and is actively working to maintain it with mechanical fuel reduction as needed, prescribed fire, and control of non-native invasive species.

Thanks to the success of our Citizen Science Project to Map Rare Plant Species, we were able to map an undeveloped area of sandhill that if protected, will preserve important wildlife habitat and a natural corridor connecting publicly-protected conservation lands.  The project area (aka "The Warea Area") is home to numerous rare plant and animal species including Clasping Warea (Warea amplexifolia), a critically endangered plant species, the Florida Sand Skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi), Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus), Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus), and Sherman’s Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani).

Working with our conservation partner, Putnam Land Conservancy (PLC), the first property was acquired by PLC and preserved in 2014.  In 2018, Conservation Florida also donated a parcel to the project.  Working together, we are engaging the assistance of scientists, students and concerned citizens while we continue to acquire properties, monitor rare species and habitat, and to manage these properties for the benefit of the species that depend on them for their existence.


Funding for the purchase was provided by grants from the Felburn Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and many private donors.


Putnam Land Conservancy
Conservation Florida

  Email the Project Contact

Warea amplexifolia, clasping warea.  Photo by Shirley Denton


Warea amplexifolia (Clasping warea) on conservation lands acquired during this project.  Photo by Deborah Curry.


How "Clasping" warea got its name.  Photo by Susan Carr.

Participating in the Land Management Reviews for public lands purchased under the Florida Forever and P2000 programs has been one of FNPS' most successful project efforts. 

Since 2009, FNPS members have participated in nearly 100% of all state land management reviews.

Habitat restoration is a frequent topic on the state Land Mangement Reveiws.  


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Land management review team at St. Sebastian Preserve State Park, 2011.  Photo by Vince Lamb.



Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia), is North America's most endangered conifer, and its habitat is the steep ravines along the Apalachicola River in north Florida and extending in similar habitat to about 1 mile into southern Georgia. 

Once growing to mature heights of 30-60ft tall, the few remaining Torreyas now rarely reach above 10ft, with the majority ranging between 2-5ft tall. Few trees reach sexual maturity before dying back to their roots again and (hopefully) resprouting.

So what is killing the Florida Torreya? The reasons for its decline have been hotly debated - though habitat degradation due to development, silviculture, climate changes, and other human causes have all contributed. The trees are also susceptible to damage by deer rubbing. Over the years, many hypotheses have been purposed for the disappearance of Torreya, however, the primary culprit of the death and decline of this species was named in 2011: Fusarium torreyae

This fungal pathogen was unknown to science until recently identified and described by Dr. Jason Smith at the University of Florida. Jason suspects this fungus evolved in Asia along with relatives of Torreya taxifolia native to that region and was likely introduced through the import of those non-native species for horticultural uses, though more work will be needed to know for sure. 

The FNPS TorreyaKeepers project is focused on working with private landowners to locate and conserve trees on private property.  This project will expand upon the work that Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) is doing on public lands and help to conserve more of the genetic diversity of Florida Torreya.  In partnership with ABG we collect seeds and cuttings for propagation and genetic safeguarding by ABG in their nursery.  We developed a brochure to help private landowners identify Florida Torreya and distinguish it from other similar-looking trees. We also developed a brochure on best management practices to help private landowners protect the species on their properties.


Atlanta Botanical Garden

Torreya State Park


Florida Forest Service

Jelks Family Foundation

Many individual donors - thank you!


Dec. 23, 2019 -
   Blog Article


TorreyaKeepers Website:  torreyakeepers.fnps.org

Torreya taxifolia (Florida torreya).  Photo by Bill Boothe.


FNPS volunteers caging a Torreya tree to protect it from deer, who like to rub on the trees.


Torreya taxifolia (Florida torreya).  Photo by Lilly Anderson-Messec.

We are documenting occurrences of Florida’s rare plant species throughout the state, especially those in the path of development or that are located within road right-of-ways and utility easements.  This is important because many companies and contractors have begun using herbicide in place of mowing.  Additionally, many of our rare species require occasional or reduced mowing in order to flower and reproduce.  Management protocols for rights-of-ways are essential for the conservation of many of our rare and endemic plant species. 

FNPS and our Chapters work with partners to help monitor and manage many sensitive locations located in power line and road rights-of-ways.  We also help monitor and manage rare plant populations on public lands.

This mapping project has been instrumental in the following:

  • Our Warea Conservation & Land Acquisition Project
  • Roadside management protocol was developed for Helianthus carnosus populations in Flagler and Putnam Counties.  Funded by an FNPS Conservation Grant.
  • Bay County – Road-widening Project - Sarracenia leucophylla population was brought to the attention of planners
  • Popluations of Ruellia noctiflora, Brickellia and numerous milkweed plants in Wakulla County were rescued and relocated for the installation of a paved trail.
  • Lake County - Lilium catesbaei population conserved
  • Lee County - populations of Sacoila lanceolata and several milkweeds were conserved.

How you can help:

Document all sightings of rare plants in road rights-of-way to help fill in gaps and build the database.  Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone.  Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send with your email (see link below).

Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet). 

If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside rare plant population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.

  Email the Project Contact

Annual surveys by our Pawpaw Chapter are showing the importance of land management to the rare species yellow squirrel-banana (Asimina rugelii).


Rare Plant Location Map.  Updated June 2020.