It’s time for your extinct plant of the week! This week is a little less depressing than the last few. Clermontia peleana are flowering trees in the bellflower family. Many Clermontias have beautiful, showy flowers frequented by birds.
Clermontia peleana isn’t actually completely extinct, though it is in pretty serious trouble. While one of the subspecies has already gone extinct, the one remaining plant of another was successfully propagated and a reintroduction program is underway.
The major threats to this species all come from us: habitat degradation and animals and plants we introduced to the islands.
While this plant is in Hawaii, I’m going to ask you to take action to protect a habitat close to my heart (also where one of my research sites is located) – the Kaibab National Forest.
the Kaibab National Forest is nothing short of spectacular and deserves the highest level of protection. It’s an incredibly rich and diverse forest that serves as a refuge for imperiled and biologically important species. Many of Grand Canyon’s wide-ranging wildlife, particularly mule deer, mountain lion, and black bear, are dependent on adequate Forest Service as well as park habitats. Sensitive species, including the northern goshawk and Abert’s squirrels, nest and forage within the ponderosa forests of both areas.
Off-roading is an incredibly destructive activity and has already significantly damaged this forest. Write the Forest Service and urge them to put stricter rules in place.