Ep. 198 - The State of the World's Trees

Assessing the status of all known tree species may seem like a monumental task and in many ways it is. However, that is exactly what a team of conservation scientists from Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the IUCN are trying to do. Joining us to talk about these efforts is Dr. Malin Rivers who is Head of Conservation Prioritization for BGCI. She and her colleagues are working hard to gather data from a multitude of sources in order to better understand the myriad threats to tree species from all over the globe. From trying to put a number on all known tree species to working with local governments to properly assess and implement sound conservation efforts, the Global Tree Specialist Group is working hard to do its part to understand and protect tree diversity. This episode was produced in part by John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 191 - The Changing Forests of the Andes

When it comes to our understanding of plants and climate change, the tropics are still a great unknown. However, the data we do have is telling us that our actions are already changing forests. Today we are joined by Dr. Ken Feeley to talk about some of his work looking at the forests of the Andes Mountains. You will soon learn just how difficult it can be to study such a biodiverse region. Nonetheless, Dr. Feeley and his colleagues are putting in great efforts to collect vital data on these species to help us better understand and act on conservation efforts. This episode was produced in part by Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 178 - Forest Conservation in Laos

Forest conservation has never been more important, especially in Southeast Asia. Rates of forest loss in this region are unprecedented. Much still remains in places like Laos but without proper regulation, more stands to be lost. Luckily places like the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden are working hard to ensure that the forests of Laos do not meet the same fate as those in places like Indonesia, Combodia, and Vietnam. Joining us to talk about what Pha Tad Ke is doing to empower the people of Laos is botanist Bryony Smart. Join us for an enlightening discussion about what it is going to take in order to ensure Laos has a prosperous and verdant future. This episode was produced in part by Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 172 - Pinosaur Conservation: An Introduction to the Wollemi Pine

The Wollemi pine is one of the world's rarest trees. These mysterious gymnosperms was unknown to science until 1994. Their discovery made headlines around the globe. My guest today, Dr. Heidi Zimmer, has the distinct honor of working with this wonderful species. Join us for a conversation all about Wollemia nobilis. This episode was produced in part by: Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Lisa, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 171 - Restoring Plants & Saving a Salamander

Habitat destruction is the leading cause of extinction on this planet. Plants = Habitat. There is no way around it. My guest today is Pierson Hill, a biologist at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in Florida. Pierson and his colleagues are working hard at bringing the endangered flatwoods salamander back from the brink of extinction. To do so, they must first restore the longleaf pine habitats it relies on. Such work has turned this amphibian and reptile lover into a plant lover as well. Join Pierson and me for a discussion about fire, plant restoration, and the salamander they are so desperately trying to save. This episode was produced in part by: Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Lisa, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 169 - Herbaria Are Data Gold Mines

Phenology, population size, distribution, genetic diversity - these are just some of the data locked up in herbaria around the globe. My guest today is Katelin Pearson and she has been working hard on making sure herbarium data are as available as they can be to everyone from scientists to artists, and even the general public. As you will hear, we herbaria succeed, so do the plants they help understand. This episode was produced in part by: Mohsin, doeg, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Tim, Philip, Lisa, Brent, Leticia, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 85 - Plant Conservation in the Modern Era

When it comes to conservation, plants have largely been overlooked. We tend to spend a lot more time with "charismatic" species of animals. For instance, 100% of the world's known threatened and endangered animals have been assessed by the IUCN whereas we have only assessed about 5% of plants. This is quite scary considering that so-called biodiversity hot spots are defined by their vascular flora. This is why the New York Botanical Garden is working to improve our literacy of the botanical world. My guest today is Dr. Brian Boom who, among other titles, is the VP for Conservation Strategy for the New York Botanical Garden. Join us for an inspiring conversation about plant conservation in the modern world. This episode was produced in part by  Gregory, Mark, Allen, Desiree, Sienna, Laura, Margie, Troy, and Bryan.

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Ep. 80 - Lichens and Their Conservation

Lichens are everywhere and we hardly ever notice them. Aside from their beauty and interesting symbiotic relationships, lichens are also crucial components of their environment. Today we are joined by Jessica Allen, a PhD student who is devoting her career to understanding and preserving these wonderful organisms. Please join us for a fascinating discussion about the world of lichens. This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, Laura, Margie, and Allan.

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Ep. 78 - A Focus On Native Bees

North America is home to a plethora of native bees. Sadly, they are a bit of a mystery. Overshadowed by non-native honey bees, many of our native species are in serious trouble. That is where scientists like Dr. Alexandra Harmon-Threatt come in. An assistant professor of entomology at the University of Illinois, her lab is focused on the interactions between native bees and the surrounding plant communities. This is a fascinating discussion that will hopefully inspire more people to dive into the shadows surrounding these important players in our local ecology. This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, Laura, Margie, and Allan. 

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Ep. 76 - Broomrapes: A Celebration of an Interesting Family of Parasitic Plants

Parasites have earned themselves a bad reputation in our society. We often see them as nauseating freeloaders. This could not be farther from the truth. More and more we are starting to realize just how important parasites are in any given ecosystem. Not only do they promote and maintain biodiversity, they also serve as vital indicators of ecosystem health. My guest today is Brandi Cannon, a masters student at Columbia University. Brandi is busy focusing her education on understanding and conserving an endangered parasitic plant known scientifically as Schwalbea americana. Along the way we get a nice introduction to the broomrape family as well as gain a greater appreciation for the importance of parasitic plants. This episode is produced in part by Gregory, Mark, Bryan, Wonja, Margie, and Laura. 

You can reach out to Brandi via email: bcc2145@columbia.edu

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Ep. 45 - Cycads

Who doesn't love cycads? I know I do and can you really blame me? The cycads are an incredible group of plants. They are also quite ancient. Arising long before flowering plants, this lineage has survived munching dinosaurs, continental drift, and mass extinctions and has undergone incredible adaptive radiations. Today cycads are in trouble. Habitat destruction and poaching now threaten many of the world's species. To get to know cycads a bit better I reached out to one of the world experts on this group of plants, Dr. Dennis Stevenson of the New York Botanical Garden. Dr. Stevenson has traveled the world to study and describe new species of cycad. He has been on every major continent and has encountered nearly every species in the wild. His work has helped us better understand the enigmatic and ancient group. Join us for a fascinating discussion about the cycads.

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Ep. 43 - Orchid Conservation

Many people are surprised to learn that North America is home to over 200 species of orchid. What's more, an embarrassing amount of North America's orchids are threatened with extinction. The plight of this intriguing plant family is an indication of how we are doing as a species. Orchids act as the proverbial canary in a coal mine. That is why Dr. Dennis Whigham, senior botanist for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, created the North America Orchid Conservation Center. Join me for a discussion with Dr. Whigham in which we cover everything from the mutualisms that orchids need to survive to what it is going to take to ensure their survival on this continent. 

Click here to learn more about the NAOCC

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