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Restoration Science Center

Guides and Manuals

CNY Converting Lawns to Meadows Guide
To learn more about our Lawn to Meadow Program, visit our page here!

State Protected Plants of Forests in NYS

Most states have regulations that protect their rarest plant species from exploitation or destruction of their habitat. Other plant species that could be overharvested because of their perceived medicinal value, like ginseng or goldenseal, are also often protected by state law.

The purpose of the guide is to:

  1. Inform landowners about plant species of conservation concern on their lands, and includes protected species because of their rarity or vulnerability to exploitation.

  2. Provide a list of species and their rankings.

  3. Increase personal efficacy in the identification of protected plant species.

  4. Increase appreciation of this special group of plants.

This guide includes:

  1. Images of each species and its ranking (rankings for protection are based on the New York Natural Heritage Program's scheme following ongoing and extensive field investigations),

  2. Information about site conditions (beyond being forest-dwelling species) under which one might find each species,

  3. Key identification characteristics.

Why Landowners?

Unlike wildlife species that are protected by the state, property owners also own the protection rights to plant species on their property. Certain groups of plant species, regardless of their actual rarity status, are protected, e.g., all fern species except three are protected by state law. Those three are hay-scented, sensitive, and bracken ferns, not protected because of their invasive growth habit although all are native. Similarly, all of New York's many dozens of native terrestrial orchid species are protected, but the single introduced and highly naturalized orchid, the weed orchid, is not.

Ironically, many of the most exploitable vulnerable species have greatly dwindled in numbers over the past couple of decades and have no protection against their greatest threat, i.e., being wiped out by deer herbivory. In fact, nearly every one of the thousands of white trillium pictured on the cover of this booklet was completely eaten the following year. If such high levels of herbivory happen in consecutive years, populations of these showy wildflowers will be eliminated. And because it takes about six years for a trillium seed to germinate and flower, populations are slow to recover, even if herbivory is eliminated.

We hope that this guide increases the reader's understanding of and appreciation for this special group of plant species.

Peer-Reviewed Research

Dr. Tom Horton's new paper in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change:
Back to Roots: The Role of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi in Boreal and Temperate Forest Restoration

Dr. John Stella's new paper in Forest Ecology and Management:
Stem size selectivity is stronger than species preferences for beaver, a central place forager

Dr. John Farrell has several recent publications related to the Fish Habitat Conservation Strategy
Walton-Rabideau, Lédée, E. J. I., J. P. Leblanc, P. Szekeres, J. D. Midwood, A. J. Gallagher, J. M. Farrell, and Steven J. Cooke. 2020. Spatiotemporal ecology of juvenile Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) and Northern Pike (Esox lucius) in upper St. Lawrence River nursery bays. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 29:346-363.
Massa, E. A., J. M. Farrell. 2019. Prey selection by larval northern pike (Esox lucius) exposed to different zooplankton assemblages representing seasonally flooded wetland and nearshore bay habitats. Limnol. Oceanogr. 64:1200-1213.
Neveldine, B., Leblanc, J. P., J. M. Farrell. 2019. Vegetation response and juvenile northern pike (Esox lucius) outmigration following connectivity enhancement of a Typha dominated coastal wetland. Wetlands 39:921-934.