Rare Plant Surveys: What you Need to Know!

Here in Alberta, spring is now arriving, which means plants are about to make an appearance and ready themselves to take advantage of the upcoming growing season.

Alberta contains an enormous variety of plant species. Such diversity is attributed to the fact that this province’s changing landscape provides an abundance of microhabitats in which unique plants can grow.  Everything from saline depressions, mountainous limestone ledges, old growth poplar bark, and wetland edges are just some examples of the microhabitats where rare vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, and lichen are able to carve out a living.

Some of these microhabitats can even be found within our cities where new urban developments may encroach, making rare plant surveys an important component of project planning in urban areas. Some of these very inconspicuous plant species can be easily overlooked considering their inherent small population sizes, growth forms, and requirements for unique habitat conditions.

The Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC) recommends that rare plant surveys be administered 3 times during the growing season (spring, mid-summer and & late summer) to account for the variability of when a rare plant may grow and bloom, and to make sure any area that may support rare plant species are thoroughly searched prior to development.