The Guam Plant Extinction Prevention (GPEP) Program is an island-wide program dedicated to preventing the extinction of Guam’s rarest plant species that have fewer than 200 individuals remaining in the wild by working with conservation partners to protect wild populations, preserve their genes off-site, and reintroduce plants to their natural habitats.
What We Do
The GPEP program engages in five primary activities to carry out its operations:
- The field crew regularly monitors the health, phenology, and potential threats to existing wild plants, referred to as founder plants, as well as all outplanted individuals. Monitoring is essential in determine the effectiveness of GPEPP's conservation efforts as well as inform decisions regarding future management techniques.
- The GPEPP field crew collects propagules from founder plants to be propagated at the nursery facility or in the tissue culture lab. Ideally, collection occurs from as many individuals as possible in order to ensure a sufficient amount of genetic diversity in the nursery grown stock.
- The survey crew regulary visits and surveys habitats throughout Guam for the presence of rare plant species. Knowledge of current rare plant populations increases the potential for species recovery by making it possible to monitor additional founder trees and increasing potential propagule sources.
manage founder plants
Founder Plants are plants that remain in the wild.They help in ensuring our collection of plant propagules are genetically diverse and cared for properly for reintroduction.
Activities for threat management: Construction of fences preventing damage by ungulate (pigs, deer, cattle), Control of small pests (snails, butterflies, insects, rodents). Deweeding of non-native invasive species that deplete natural resources for desired native species. Cooperation with Partners whom address human related impacts.
- GPEPP aims to both establish new populations of rare plants as well as augment existing populations by outplanting nursery-grown stock. By outplanting genetically diverse individuals of various ages GPEPP is able to maximise the diversity of the populations.
Why Protect Endangered Species?
Protecting biodiversity is an essential part of natural resources management. This requires knowledge of:
- Benefits of natural diversity
- Contributions to medicine
- Biodiversity and agriculture
- Environmental monitors
- Ecosystem services
- Other economic values
- Intangible values
Our positions on rare plant species:
- The GPEP program’s primary goal is to work with conservation partners and on-site resource managers to protect wild plants as they occur in their natural habitat.
- The GPEP program does not hold enforcement powers to uphold the endangered species act but carries out its work in voluntary collaboration with agencies and individuals with the GPEP program species.
- The GPEP program invests in species protection where species are able to persist in their native habitat as they would have naturally occurred. It is not the intent of the GPEP program to preserve species ex situ.
- The GPEP program supports thoughtful, planned reintroductions of the GPEP species. Increasing population numbers takes into account the variables based on current understanding of conservation genetics and current knowledge of the individual’s maternal line. We do not support unplanned outplantings.
- Species that are extirpated in the wild and solely dependent on cultivation for its survival are not considered priorities of the GPEP program.
- The GPEP program acknowledges the importance of public outreach and strives to balance sharing information about endangered species recovery projects with the intentional and unintentional harm that might come to the species through increased exposure. For this reason, it is not the GPEP program’s policy to share specific location information with the general public.