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Native Carnivores Introduced Into Suitable Habitat

In my wanderings I came across an abandoned sand pit in southern NH. Years ago a construction company used to lease this land for hauling out sand for their projects. The area was basically a white pine woodland growing on top of pure fine sand surrounded by an immense beaver dam. The company had built a causeway through the beaver dam to access the sand, cut down the pine trees and excavated a huge bowl in the earth. About 20 years ago the laws in NH regarding wetlands were changed and the company was forced to pull their out their operation.
While walking through the area a few years ago to photograph some rare local turtles I noticed that Drosera intermedia had seeded itself in the bottom of this sandy depression along with other bog plants like Green Bog Orchids, Meadow Beauty, Cranberry, Bog Violets, Yellow Eyed Grass and, Sphagnum moss. Seeing this put a thought into my head...... Why not help other species native to the region colonize the area ?
Last year I introduced young plants of Sarracenia purpurea purpurea and Utricularia macrohiza and seeded the area heavily with Drosera rotundifolia. The plants I added all originated within 10 miles of this location. Since the plants seem to like their new home, I'll be adding some more local Sarracenia purpurea purpurea along with Calopogon tuberosus and Utricularia purpurea next year.
Some of you may love this idea, some of you may think it's wrong. Whatever your opinion, just try to enjoy seeing these plants now thriving in a wild semi-natural habitat.

Please excuse the quality of the pictures, I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes and deer flies while trying to take them. I'll return and get some better shots later on.

Here are the Drosera intermedia that were already present in the area growing amongst the grasses and bog violets.
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=017.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/017.jpg" border="0"
alt="Drosera intermedia - Pelham, NH"></a>

Utricularia macrohiza now growing happily in the beaver dam beside the old causeway.
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=020.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/020.jpg" border="0" alt="Utricularia macrohiza - Reintroduced - Pulpit Rock Rd. Pelham, NH"></a>
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=021.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/021.jpg" border="0" alt="Utricularia macrohiza - Reintroduced - Pulpit Rock Rd. Pelham, NH"></a>
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=022.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/022.jpg" border="0" alt="Utricularia macrohiza - Reintroduced - Pulpit Rock Rd. Pelham, NH"></a>

Sarracenia purpurea purpurea
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=019.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/019.jpg" border="0" alt="Sarracenia purpurea purpurea - Reintroduced - Pulpit Rock Rd. Pelham, NH"></a>
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=016.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/016.jpg" border="0" alt="Sarracenia purpurea purpurea - Reintroduced - Pulpit Rock Rd. Pelham, NH"></a>
<a href="http://s1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/?action=view&current=015.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h434/Nepenthes138/Wild%20Carnivorous%20Plants/015.jpg" border="0" alt="Sarracenia purpurea purpurea - Reintroduced - Pulpit Rock Rd. Pelham, NH"></a>
i love what you are doin :)
dont mind the idea at all since you arent introducing foreign sarracenia or capensis... thought it was really responsible that you identified and used plants from the surrounding 10 miles, to get a more accurate genetic representation of what should be there.
otherwise, i think it's pretty awesome that these guys are going to re-establish old hunting grounds.
dont mind the idea at all since you arent introducing foreign sarracenia or capensis...my only qualm would be to use plants with location data that put them closest to the site. it may have been even more responsible to look back into historical records to truly identify which CPs actually existed in that specific area, but ey, what the hey...

otherwise, i think it's pretty awesome that these guys are going to re-establish old hunting grounds.

All the plants that were introduced came from within 10 miles of this site. There were no carnivorous plants growing in this area in the past because this habitat didn't even exist until 20 years ago or so. It's a completely man made area.
All the plants that were introduced came from within 10 miles of this site. There were no carnivorous plants growing in this area in the past because this habitat didn't even exist until 20 years ago or so. It's a completely man made area.

:blush: i reread and caught myself. went back and edited my post....that's what i get for skimming... :facepalm:
If it's from the same county/surrounding area then I see no problem with it. Basically what you've done is created a small preserve. It'll be interesting to see how this progresses.
If it's from the same county/surrounding area then I see no problem with it. Basically what you've done is created a small preserve. It'll be interesting to see how this progresses.

I'll have around 20,000 more seeds from the purpurea this year. I plan on scattering most of them out there in October or November so they can stratify naturally. I'll also germinate a few thousand indoors and sow the seedlings out there in the spring or possibly the following year when they're a bit bigger. I'm hoping to get at least 100 plants established at the site in the next few years.
To play Devil's Advocate:

1) Simply observing that D. intermedia can be found within 10 miles of the site is no guarantee that the D. intermedia population originated from there. D. intermedia is basically a wetlands plant and migratory wetland fowl can travel hundreds to thousands of miles. The populations of D. anglica in Hawaii are thought to have been introduced by waterfowl. And the Dionaea muscipula in the Hosford Bog, FL are thought to have been introduced by waterfowl although it has been said Jimmy Northrop introduced them.

2) The area may be part of a study of the natural accession of wildlife. Invaluable data for habitat restoration. Your introductions may invalidate such a study.

3) What starts out as "ethical" introductions could turn quickly into an ecological nightmare as the area becomes a dumping ground for Carnivorous Plants. Such has happened to areas like Butterfly Valley and the Albion Bog in CA.
  • #10
1) I never said that the D.intermedia "originated" there. None of the plants there originated there. It was a white pine woodland and 50 feet higher in elevation 20 years ago. The entire location sits in the bottom of a man made bowl which I explained in the original post. All the bog plants in the area minus the ones I put there were deposited by natural means, more than likely... waterfowl.

2) The only thing being studied in the area is teenage drinking, marijuana growing, dirtbike riding and, target practice.

3) "Ecological nightmare" Now, come on..... let's try not to get carried away here.
  • #11
Just leads the mind to wonder what scientists fifty or more years from now are going to think about the wildly different genetic material found in your bog from the surronding areas. I do realize that this is a manmade bog in that nature found a way to reclaim the site. I also realize that the plants which showed up on their own did most likely come from birds, or storms. Orchids not native to Florida show up growing there five to ten years (giving them time to mature and flower) after a hurricane helped blow seeds in from the islands. I have read about the issues with "foreign" populations of purps being reintroduced to already established bogs decades before genetic diversity was even thought of.

I'm not commenting on the ethics or ecological impacts. Just picturing folks, decades form now, thinking this had always been a natural bog and getting very confused.
  • #12
On the surface this looks like a great idea. You said you collected the seeds/plants all locally. The rule I usually go by is can the plant be somehow transported to the new site naturally. I think that if they all came from within 10 miles, it's easy to imagine that they were transported down river by a flood or transported by birds. So as far as I'm concerned it would be ok to introduce local plants there.

As I said on the surface this looks like a good idea, so lets go a little deeper. My first question is how did you get the plants. Apparently you collected them from the wild. Did you collect them legally? I don't know the laws in NH. Maybe you spent the time to research the local and state laws regarding collection, if you didn't you can open yourself up to a lot of legal problems.

My second question is, what did you do with the plants after you collected them. Did you plant them in peat and grow them at your house for awhile? If you did, how will you be sure that you are not introducing an invasive species or disease that was in the peat?

My third question is who owns the land you are putting the plants on? How do they feel about what you are doing? They could probably file charges against you.

You have to be careful with these things, you can do way more harm than good or you can get yourself into a lot of trouble.
  • #13
The Utricularia grow wild on my mother's property down the street from the site. The Sarracenia purpurea were rescued from a construction site about 12 years ago and transplanted into a bog on my mother's property where they've been growing ever since. It was their seed that was used to populate the area. The Drosera were already there by some natural means, more than likely spread by waterfowl.

The land is owned by a construction company, the owners of which were friends with my father. The land is completely unusable to them (or anyone else) due to the wetland laws in NH. I have spoken to them about this and they have no intentions on using the land for any purpose nor do they plan to sell it any time in the future.
  • #14
If all that you said is true, I don't have a problem with this. I would suggest that you maintain paperwork to protect yourself if a problem ever came up. I would also suggest that you contact a local chapter of an organisation like The Nature Conservancy to help with your project and to offer advice.

Also if there are any other people considering doing something similar, you should contact TNC or some other organisation that specialize in this sort of thing BEFORE you start.
  • #15
i dont get why anyone would be opposed to introducing these plants, when they have said themselves that sometimes they will be naturally introduced by waterfowl. are the drosera angelica Hawii an invasive spicies just because they were introduced there? not in my opinion.. doesnt introduction into new habitats also happen in nature? yes, it does. and when it happens, the plants slowly adapt to their new area, and eventually become a new 'native' species, even though they originated elsewhere. i do not think, however that we should use this as an excuse to dump random CPs into any old bog, even if they do eventually naturalize. this is a good idea in my opinion, because the plants were collected locally.
  • #16
I too, come from a background of restoration and revegetation of native species so I have been interested to see what you have done and how. I hope any others who might try something similar do it with as much consideration and forethought as you have. We all know that this has often not been the case. I can't see what harm could've been done and the results closely mimic nature. Nice.
  • #17
I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact I think its great.

How often are people replanting trees or working to restore habitat that has been over-taken by invasives? Do these plants that they(we) use come from the original gene pool of the plants that were there? Are they better contributions to the ecosystem then the invasive plants?

Of course there is a devil's advocate's side to everything but sometimes it is just beating a dead horse, IMO. No study that occurs in that area in the future will ever be so ignorant as to not take into account the fact that the area has obviously been heavily affected by anthropogenic forces. The most noble of those forces in my opinion is the reintroduction (or creation) of a semi-natural ecosystem once again.
  • #18
I live in Illinois, and back 40years ago, I talked to folks at the states Nature Conservancy,
whereby I was given a lead as to where some dews were growing...Just south of Chicago.
I did find them & they were growing in about a 1/4 acre patch, by the thousands!

Turns out that the area used to be an old RR ditch, sandy area that was dug out & created by the railroad workers.
Totally man made! More research turned up that there are other areas where many orchids & other interesting species,
again on the city/city limits, all there as a result of developers digging up a large area to put in houses & buildings,
that were never completed, as a result of the great depression!
This area turned into one of the largest local areas where the ideal environment was created...all by accident/chance!

So when I hear people now all worried about not disturbing our "natural areas", I crack a smile!
Early on, I gained an understanding that many "natural areas" ar not all that "natural" as people often think.
It seems that humans & their activity are "natural" too!
Just because an animal poops out some seed in an area, & it grows, is no more or less natural than some kid planting
some seed to see what grows.
Nature, life, & all its forms are constantly changing & growing (and yes, aging & dieing), so trying to maintain the status qou & keep
things exactly as they are, is in fact the most un-natural thing to try to do.

Just so you know, further building/development did change the water table & thus kill off all the dews in the one area I saw as a kid,
while many of the other areas are still going strong.
And a local kettle/quaking bog is on its last years... I was fortunate enough to see it when the center water was hundreds of feet across
and deep enough to drown in.... which now, years later is only about 40-50 feet across & a few inches deep, if that.
The bog is filling in, I can no longer jump on one area & watch the trees rock back & forth, and the few remaining pitcher plants are there from the conservation district planting them back into the area.
I feel fortunate to have lived in a time where I could enjoy it while it was here at its best, as that is often all we can expect to do.

I won't say anything concerning the pro's or con's as to your planting the plants as you have 138.
I merely wanted to let people know that we sometimes don't realize the actual circumstances & situation at hand, and that there may not really be "one right way" to handle things, and that sometimes thinking & doing outside the box, can indeed be the best. (I said sometimes!)
(Also, since when did humans become "Not" a part of nature & its system?! Just because we think differently? Look around folks... most of the people I see are not any smarter/better than animals! In fact, many are even worse!)
  • #19
Well said GrowinOld.

I was just wondering if you have been back to the site lately or what the progress is?
  • #20
I haven't seen the site since about 2 weeks after I took those pics. I'll be going fairly regularly this summer though. I'll post updates in here starting in April or May.