The mission of CNPS is to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants. The South Coast Chapter is one of 34 chapters and was founded in 1982. In addition to a history of advocacy for conservation and restoration of open space, our chapter has a strong horticultural base. We hold a plant sale every fall, monthly public programs about native plants, and an annual Spring Garden Tour. For many years we have also maintained a native plant garden at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, and one of our Horticulture Co-Chairs designed the native plant garden at the Madrona Marsh Nature Center in the City of Torrance. At times, our members also engage in weed eradication, rare plant monitoring, plant community sampling, and community outreach. Each activity brings members together with shared goals under the CNPS mission. The South Coast Chapter also awards grants for Native Plant Garden Projects under the Conze Grant Program.
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Few places in the world enjoy the same level of geographic and biological diversity as the California Floristic Province (CFP). The CFP is a recognized global biodiversity hotspot with over 5,700 native plant species, a third of which are found nowhere else in the world. This unique flora is currently under threat by a rapidly growing population coupled with a housing shortage, increased demand for resources, and a changing climate. Landscape level planning is becoming more common to meet these challenges, and it is essential to ensure that plants and their habitats are adequately represented and protected. The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) has created the Important Plant Areas (IPA) Program to meet this growing need for plant conservation.
The IPA program seeks to identify the most important areas for protecting California’s flora through centralization of existing data, regional workshops to collect previously undocumented expert knowledge, and species distribution models. This data will be combined to produce a state-wide map of California’s IPAs. The IPA program is working with conservation advocates, land managers, conservation planners, and regulators throughout this process to ensure that IPAs can be translated into real world conservation for the plants, habitats, and places that make California so unique for generations to come.
Sam Young, IPA Program Manager is spearheading the development of the Important Plant Areas Program with the Conservation Program staff for statewide implementation.