Statement on Conservation

Conservation is the act of protecting Earth’s natural resources for current and future generations [1].

Conservation of native flora is the unifying, highest goal of all activities and actions of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Native plants and the communities they form are the foundation of terrestrial life on earth. Plants give us oxygen to breathe, food, clothing, medicine, and shelter; they moderate temperatures, conserve water and soil. They also give us beauty, majesty, and mystery that nurture the human spirit.

Virginia has about 2,450 native plant species. The Virginia Natural Heritage Program estimates that 38% of our native plant species are rare or increasingly uncommon. The primary causes for the decline of native plants are human land disturbance, invasive species, and over-browsing by white-tailed deer.

We must conserve our native plants and ecosystems to protect human quality of life and biodiversity and reduce the impacts of climate change.

Native species are those that occur in the region in which they evolved [2].

Invasive species are introduced species that cause health, economic or ecological damage in their new range [3]. Invasive species include plants (e.g., autumn olive, Bradford pear, wavyleaf basket grass), animals (e.g., emerald ash borer, hemlock wooly adelgid, spotted lanternfly), and other organisms (e.g., chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, dogwood anthracnose).

The VNPS Statement on Conservation articulates specific activities and goals that support the VNPS Mission. VNPS endorses the following conservation goals in support of its mission. Activities receiving the endorsement of VNPS should directly support our mission and conservation goals.

  1. To foster love and respect for the natural world and appreciation of the diversity and interdependence of the Commonwealth’s flora and fauna, with primary focus on plant life in all its natural settings.
  2. To offer educational activities and programs that stress the importance of preserving Virginia’s native habitats and flora, and instill the values espoused by the VNPS and that foster a land ethic which respects and preserves our natural heritage.
  3. To preserve and protect native plant communities, natural areas, wildlife corridors, and habitat. We oppose collecting native plants in the wild. Native plant rescues should adhere to the VNPS Native Plant Rescue Policy.
  4. To recognize outstanding native plant sites, like those listed in the VNPS Native Plant Site Registry and to foster and aid efforts to preserve such strongholds using all appropriate means.
  5. To encourage and support scientific research that furthers knowledge and understanding of Virginia’s flora, their communities, and their ecological requirements and interactions.
  6. To advocate and support action, legislation, and regulation that advances the mission and goals of the VNPS while working cooperatively with relevant governments, corporations, organizations, and private citizens.
  7. To combat harmful organisms and invasive species and discourage their sale, minimize the use of chemical or biological controls, and reduce deer populations to allow recovery of native flora.
  8. To foster ecological restoration and natural recovery by introducing local native plants, where needed, into landscapes to support biodiversity, and to encourage the landscaping industry to use, sell, and support the use of native plants.


Revised and adopted by the VNPS Board of Directors June 7, 2022.