Rare Plant Demographic Monitoring
In 2017, the BLM launched a seasonal field crew to set up long term demographic monitoring plots for a select group of rare plants in New Mexico. Since 2023, this crew has been operated by IAE Southwest. The 10 rare plant species monitored by the crew include Aztec gilia (Aliciella formosa), Clover’s fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus cloverae), Mesa Verde cactus (Sclerocactus mesae-verdae), Tharp’s bluestar (Amsonia tharpii), Kuenzler’s hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus fendleri var. kuenzleri), Allred’s flax (Linum allredii), Gypsum wild buckwheat (Eriogonum gypsophilum), Taos spring parsley (Cymopterus spellenbergii), Ripley’s milkvetch (Astragalus ripleyii), and Gypsum Townsend’s aster (Townsendia gypsophila). The goal of this project is to collect a robust demographic dataset to better understand these species’ population dynamics through time, and what habitat factors or threats may be affecting them. This information can ultimately be used to make informed management decisions and provide protection for species showing population declines. A closer look at the rare plant monitoring crew’s season can be found in this blog by the 2023 crew.