Poachers target Michigan orchids

Capital News Service
LANSING — Poaching commonly brings to mind ivory tusks from protected African elephants or the silky fur of the endangered Bengal tiger. What’s often neglected is plant poaching — stealing rare and endangered plants from public lands for profit or for possession. In the Great Lakes region, some of the most commonly poached plants are goldenseal, American ginseng — and rare orchids. Goldenseal and American ginseng are valued due to medicinal claims. Rare orchids are valued by collectors for their beauty and scarcity. “Demand will make a market – it’s no different from drugs,” says Frank Telewski, curator of the W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens at Michigan State University.

Climate change threatens rare orchid

Capital News Service
LANSING — As climate change threatens wet landscapes with persistent and intense droughts, natural resource managers are looking for ways to preserve the remaining habitats of the rare species such as the orchid known as white lady’s slipper. It’s not easy. “There’s a big problem with managing climate sensitive species,” said Sue Galatowitsch, a professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology at the University of Minnesota. That problem – the uncertainty of the future climate – was the focus of a recent study of how best to protect the small white lady’s slipper. In the Great Lakes region, the lady’s slipper is rare, threatened or endangered in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and New York.