Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Primary rangewide threats to the small whorled pogonia are habitat destruction from residential and commercial development and habitat degradation from recreational use, particularly by off-road vehicles. Vandalism, the formation of barriers (e.g., clearings, development) to seed dispersal, and increased herbivory on plants by deer herds are also threats.
Public awareness of this orchid has increased because of outreach efforts, including the distribution of pamphlets and recovery plans, and recruitment of volunteers for monitoring and surveying. These efforts have resulted in the discovery of two additional populations and several subpopulations (previously unknown colonies located relatively near known populations) in New Hampshire. Also, the University of New Hampshire has initiated graduate research to model small whorled pogonia habitat using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and statistical analyses, is pursuing genetic investigations, and is acquiring habitat for protection, education, and research. About a third of the known sites in New Hampshire have some protection. In addition, landowner contributions and State and town conservation efforts have resulted in permanent protection of what appears to be the largest known population of small whorled pogonias.
Further recovery will require actions such as continuing to monitor populations, contacting landowners with the goal of acquiring conservation easements, initiating habitat management studies and life history investigations, and increasing public awareness of the species throughout its range.
The New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory (State Department of Resources and Economic Development) received $5,000 in FY 1991 and $7,000 in FY 1992 to census known populations and survey historic and new sites.
New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory: This agency is working to identify ownership of all known populations, continue detailed demographic studies of selected sites, and monitor sites. Land status information has been obtained for more than 95 percent of the known sites in New Hampshire, which are currently being surveyed. As part of a State demographic study, 11 of the 32 extant sites have one or more established study plots and are monitored annually. In addition, the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory has established plots at more than 11 sites to determine plant dormancy rates, habitat characteristics, and other life history parameters. The agency is pursuing habitat protection through landowner contacts and public outreach.
University of New Hampshire: The University is assessing known habitat characteristics, determining the components of preferred habitat, developing models to predict the location of potential habitat, and surveying areas identified by these models. The University is investigating habitat characteristics of the majority of sites in New Hampshire for incorporation into GIS.
The Nature Conservancy: The Conservancy is developing conservation plans for protected sites and seeking the support of private landowners through habitat conservation agreements. Landowner contacts are being pursued for voluntary natural areas registration. Registry is a non-binding, non-regulatory program that recognizes landowners who have voluntarily agreed to protect natural features on their lands. At least three areas with deeded conservation easements and one site owned by The Nature Conservancy will be managed as preserves.
The New England Wildflower Society: This organization is continuing its detailed demographic studies of the largest known population, annually monitoring more than 1,300 plants for reproductive status, habitat parameters, and rate of dormancy. The Society will analyze 10 years of data it has collected.
Original plan approved 1/16/85; revised 11/13/92.