About the Rare Plant List

The New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy Species List 

 

The New Mexico Rare Plant Strategy is focused on the 235 rare and endangered plant species in New Mexico (the Strategy Species), including 109 species that only occur in New Mexico and nowhere else in the world.  The Strategy Species include 13 federally listed species, 37 species listed as Endangered in the State of New Mexico, 15 species listed on the Navajo Nation Endangered Species List, 36 species listed as sensitive by the BLM, and 64 species listed as sensitive by the Forest Service. 

The Strategy List is maintained by the New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council (NMRPTC).  The List includes plants ranked Critically Imperiled, Imperiled, or Vulnerable by the New Mexico Natural Heritage Program, USFWS listed species, BLM and Forest Service Sensitive Species or Species of Concern, State Listed Endangered Species, Navajo Nation Endangered Species, and otherwise rare and endemic species, including those historically considered rare by the NMRPTC.

  • Critically Imperiled Species are those ranked G1 globally and/or S1 statewide by Natural Heritage New Mexico and NatureServe. 
  • Imperiled Species are those ranked G2 globally and/or S2 statewide by Natural Heritage New Mexico and NatureServe. 
  • Vulnerable Species are those ranked G3 globally, and/or S3 statewide by Natural Heritage New Mexico and NatureServe. 
  • Threatened or Endangered Species are those that are federally listed and protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • State Endangered Plants are those listed as Endangered by the State of New Mexico and are protected under state law.
  • Navajo Nation Endangered Species are those listed by the Navajo Nation as threatened, endangered or candidates for listing and are protected by the Navajo Nation Endangered Species Act.
  • Sensitive Species or Species of Concern are not necessarily included on the above lists, but may be included on lists of Sensitive Species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Division, the Navajo Nation, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and other tribes and pueblos.  Only the BLM and the USFS provide some protective measures for sensitive species and species of concern, including policies and guidelines.
  • Endemic Species are those whose entire distribution is restricted to a relatively small geographic region. These species occur nowhere else in the world and are often, but not necessarily, vulnerable to extinction.
  • Rare Species typically have small numbers of individuals worldwide, narrow geographic ranges, and/or few localized populations, making them more vulnerable to extinction than common species.  These include all plants reviewed and listed by the New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council.

 

NM Plant Conservation Scorecard

 

As part of development of the New Mexico Plant Conservation Strategy, Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) built the New Mexico Plant Conservation Scorecard reflecting the conservation status of 235 target species (Strategy Species). For each species on the scorecard, an Overall Conservation Status of the species is evaluated as a combination of biodiversity score, threat score, and protection score. Each species was evaluated with respect to its known distribution, the quality of the populations in terms size and viability, ecological conditions, threats, and the degree of current protection.  This evaluation was used to arrive at an Overall Conservation Status

To download the Scorecard click here.

 

Hybrids

As a general rule, the NMRPTC treats hybrid species--those that originated through hybridization but now form populations that are reproductively independent from their parents--simply as species like any other. Ephemeral hybrids that form in contact zones between their parents and are either infertile or interbreed freely with one or both parents, on the other hand, are not considered eligible for listing as rare by the NMRPTC. Complicated situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. As an example, Opuntia viridiflora may have originated by hybridization between Opuntia imbricata and Opuntia whipplei. Regardless of this possible hybrid origin, current populations are fertile and reproductively independent; consequently O. viridiflora is listed as a rare plant. Sporadic, morphologically similar hybrids that occur in areas where O. imbricata and O. whipplei are sympatric, and which do not form such reproductively independent populations, are not considered by the NMRPTC to be O. viridiflora.

 

About the Map Data

In using this web site you may discover some differences between the reports and the original distribution maps. Initially location information shown on the maps was obtained from herbarium specimen records, agency databases, and the scientific literature. Some map points may represent data entry errors or misidentified specimens in our herbaria, which highlights the need to re-examine specimens and annotate them where appropriate. Other map points may represent range extensions that were unknown to the author of the report. Resolving cases where reports and maps differ is an ongoing process and we will modify our web site as these differences are identified and resolved. Future maps will be linked to the NM Natural Heritage website and will be based on the most current information available.

 

 

DROPPED SPECIES

 

Includes taxa originally considered by the NMRPTC, but either not Included for various reasons, or dropped.

 

 

AGENCY STATUS DEFINITIONS

 

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

 

Endangered - A species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Threatened - A species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Candidate - A species for which the USFWS has sufficient information to propose that it be added to the list of endangered and threatened species, but the listing action has been precluded by other higher priority listing activities.

Species of Concern - A taxon for which further biological research and field study are needed to resolve their conservation status OR are considered sensitive, rare, or declining on lists maintained by Natural Heritage Programs, State wildlife agencies, other Federal agencies, or professional/academic scientific societies.

Source: Charlie McDonald, Regional Botanist, U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region

 

State of New Mexico

 

Endangered - The taxon is listed as threatened or endangered under the provisions of the Federal Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. Sections 1531 et seq.), or is considered proposed under the tenets of the act [10-29-85,]; or the taxon is a rare plant across its range within the state, and of such limited distribution and population size that unregulated taking could adversely impact it and jeopardize its survival in New Mexico. [10-29-85, 8-31-95]

Strategy Species (SS) - A New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy species, which should be protected from land use impacts when possible because it is a unique and limited component of the regional flora.

Sources: New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 19, Chapter 21 Part 2.8 (Criteria for inclusion of the endangered plant species list), and Daniela Roth, State Botanist

 

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

 

Endangered - Any species designated as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is known to occur on national forest lands in New Mexico.

Threatened - Any species designated as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is known to occur on national forest lands in New Mexico.

Sensitive - A species that is likely to occur or have habitat on National Forest Service System lands and that has been identified by the Regional Forester as of concern for reduction in population viability as evidenced by: significant current or predicted downward trends in population numbers or density, or; significant current or predicted downward trends in habitat capability that would reduce the species' distribution.

Source: Charlie McDonald, Regional Botanist, U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region

 

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

 

Definition: BLM Special Status Species are those federally listed or proposed as threatened or endangered, and those designated as BLM Sensitive Species, which includes both Federal candidate species and federally delisted species within 5 years of delisting.

Designation of BLM Sensitive Species: State Directors shall designate species within their respective states as BLM sensitive using the following criteria. For species inhabiting multiple states, State Directors shall coordinate with one another in the designation of BLM Sensitive Species so that species status is consistent across the species' range on BLM-administered lands for which the BLM has the capability to significantly affect the conservation of the species through management, and either: 1) There is information that a species has recently undergone, is undergoing, or is predicted to undergo a downward trend such that the viability of the species or a distinct population segment of the species is at risk across all or a significant portion of the species' range, or 2) The species depends on ecological refugia or specialized or unique habitats on BLM-administered lands, and there is evidence that such areas are threatened with alteration such that the continued viability of the species in that area would be at risk.

Policy: BLM Sensitive Species will be managed consistent with species and habitat management objectives in land use and implementation plans to promote their conservation and to minimize the likelihood and need for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Source: BLM Manual 6840, Special Status Species Management, December 2008. Summarized by Mike Howard, Botanist, BLM New Mexico State Office, December 2011.

 

Navajo Nation

 

GROUP 1: Those species or subspecies that no longer occur on the Navajo Nation.

GROUP 2 (G2) & GROUP 3 (G3): "Endangered"-- Any species or subspecies whose prospects of survival or recruitment within the Navajo Nation are in jeopardy or are likely within the foreseeable future to become so.

G2: A species or subspecies whose prospects of survival or recruitment are in jeopardy.

G3: A species or subspecies whose prospects of survival or recruitment are likely to be in jeopardy in the foreseeable future.

GROUP 4: Any species or subspecies for which the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife (NNDFWL) does not currently have sufficient information to support their being listed in G2 or G3 but has reason to consider them. The NNDFWL will actively seek information on these species to determine if they warrant inclusion in a different group or removal from the list.

Source: Navajo Nation, Division of Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Navajo Endangered Species List (NESL), Resources Committee Resolution No. RCMA-31-01, March 2001. Provided by Daniela Roth.

 

Natural Heritage New Mexico

 

State Ranks

SX Presumed Extirpated - Element is believed to be extirpated from NM. Not located despite intensive searches of historical sites and other appropriate habitat, and virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered. SH Possibly Extirpated (Historical) - Element occurred historically in NM, and there is some expectation that it may be rediscovered. Its presence may not have been verified in the past 20 years. An element would become SH without such a 20-year delay if the only known occurrences in NM were destroyed or if it had been extensively and unsuccessfully looked for. S1 Critically Imperiled - Critically imperiled in NM because of extreme rarity or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from New Mexico. Typically 5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals (<1,000). S2 Imperiled - Imperiled in NM because of rarity or because of some factor(s) making it very vulnerable to extirpation from New Mexico. Typically 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals (1,000 to 3,000). S3 Vulnerable - Vulnerable in NM either because rare and uncommon, or found only in a restricted range (even if abundant at some locations), or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation. Typically 21 to 100 occurrences or between 3,000 and 10,000 individuals. S4 Apparently Secure - Uncommon but not rare, and usually widespread in NM. Possible cause of long-term concern. Usually more than 100 occurrences and more than 10,000 individuals. S5 Secure - Common, widespread, and abundant in NM. Essentially ineradicable under present conditions. Typically with considerably more than 100 occurrences and more than 10,000 individuals. SNR Unranked - NM rank not yet assessed. SU Unrankable - Currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to substantially conflicting information about status or trends. S#S# Range Rank - A numeric range rank (e.g., S2S3) is used to indicate the range of uncertainty about the exact status of the element. Ranges cannot skip more than one rank (e.g., SU is used rather than S1S4). HYB Hybrid - Element not ranked because it represents an interspecific hybrid, not a species. SE - An exotic established in state; may be native elsewhere in North America; includes fish native to NM but introduced into watersheds where the species is non-native. SE# Exotic Numeric - An exotic established in NM that has been assigned a numeric rank to indicate its status, as defined for S1 through S5. SA Accidental - Accidental or casual in NM. In other words, infrequent and outside usual range. Includes species (usually birds or butterflies) recorded once or only a few times at a location. A few of these species may have bred on the one or two occasions they were recorded. Examples include European strays or western birds on the East Coast and vice-versa. SZ Zero Occurrences - Present but lacking practical conservation concern in NM because there are no definable occurrences, although the taxon is native and appears regularly in the state. An SZ rank will generally be used for long distance migrants whose occurrences during their migrations have little or no conservation value for the migrant, as they are typically too irregular (in terms of repeated visitation to the same locations), transitory, and dispersed to be reliably identified, mapped, and protected. In other words, the migrant regularly passes through the state, but enduring, mappable Element Occurrences cannot be defined. SP Potential - Potential that element occurs in the state but no extant or historic occurrences are accepted. SR Reported - Element reported in NM but without a basis for either accepting or rejecting the report, or the report not yet reviewed locally. SRD Dubious Report - Element reported in NM but the report is likely to be invalid. SRF False Report - Element reported in NM but the report is known to be invalid.

 

Global Ranks

GX Presumed Extinct - Believed to be extinct throughout its range. Not located despite intensive searches of historical sites and other appropriate habitat, and virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered. GH Possibly Extinct - Known from only historical occurrences, but may nevertheless still be extant; further searching needed. G1 Critically Imperiled - Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extinction. Typically 5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals (<1,000) or acres (<2,000) or linear miles (<10). G2 Imperiled - Imperiled globally because of rarity or because of some factor(s) making it very vulnerable to extinction or elimination. Typically 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals (1,000 to 3,000) or acres (2,000 to 10,000) or linear miles (10 to 50). G3 Vulnerable - Vulnerable globally either because very rare and local throughout its range, found only in a restricted range (even if abundant at some locations), or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extinction or elimination. Typically 21 to 100 occurrences or between 3,000 and 10,000 individuals. G4 Apparently Secure - Uncommon but not rare (although it may be rare in parts of its range, particularly on the periphery), and usually widespread. Apparently not vulnerable in most of its range, but possibly cause for long-term concern. Typically more than 100 occurrences and more than 10,000 individuals. G5 Secure - Common, widespread, and abundant (although it may be rare in parts of its range, particularly on the periphery). Not vulnerable in most of its range. Typically with considerably more than 100 occurrences and more than 10,000 individuals.

 

Variant Global Ranks

G#G# Range Rank - A numeric range rank (e.g., G2G3) is used to indicate uncertainty about the exact status of a taxon. GU Unrankable - Currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to substantially conflicting information about status or trends. GNR Unranked - Global rank not yet assessed. HYB Hybrid - Element not ranked because it represents an interspecific hybrid and not a species.

Global Rank Qualifiers

? Inexact Numeric Rank - Denotes inexact numeric rank (e.g. G3?). Q Questionable taxonomy that may reduce conservation priority - Distinctiveness of this entity as a taxon at the current level is questionable.

Infraspecific Taxon Ranks

T# Infraspecific Taxon (trinomial) - The status of infraspecific taxa (subspecies or varieties) are indicated by a "T-rank" following the species' global rank. Rules for assigning T-ranks follow the same principles outlined above. For example, the global rank of a critically imperiled subspecies of an otherwise widespread and common species would be G5T1.

Source: New Mexico Natural Heritage Program Web Site viewed at: http://nmnhp.unm.edu/ranks_status/ranks_status.pdf Definitions of New Mexico Natural Heritage Program Ranks of Endangerment

 

 

The NMRPTC Rare Plant List

 

Criteria for Inclusion

 

Having a consistent and objective definition of rarity is necessary to evaluate all the species proposed as potentially rare. Plants with narrow habitat specificity and small range are automatically of concern, whether their populations are large or not. Other categories are less clearly rare. A wide range and a narrow habitat are rare if the total number of populations is small. Plants that occur only in small populations are rare if the number of those populations are limited. Disjunct populations with numerous populations outside the state of New Mexico are cases where in a global view, the plants are not rare.

The NMRPTC will take a biological outlook and try not to read evolutionary potential into plant populations. The NMRPTC will include sparse plants, those with large ranges but narrow habitats, and those of small ranges and narrow habitats. Some widespread but sparse plants will be included on the basis of threats to their survival.

NMRPTC RARE - Prior to the inclusion of all Strategy Species on the Rare Plant website, the NMRPTC defined RARE as a taxon that is narrowly endemic to a specific geographic feature (e.g., mountain range; geologic outcrop) or subset area of a phytogeographic region (e.g., southern Rocky Mountains, northern Chihuahuan desert). It can be locally abundant within its narrow range, but typically will not extend more than 100 miles in length of range; OR A taxon that is more widespread, but is numerically rare - never locally common - throughout its range (e.g., Peniocereus greggii) or is numerically abundant only in a few small, widely scattered habitats (e.g., Puccinellia parishii, Helianthus paradoxus).

 

 

The R-E-D Code

 

The R-E-D Code concept has been so useful to the California Native Plant Society in developing the Inventory of Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plants of California (CNPS, 1994), that we developed a system that is similar, but is slightly different for the rarity ranking. This code presents a three element ranking that gives a great deal of information about each plant in a glance. The three components are rarityendangerment and distribution that together form the R-E-D Code. Each element in the code is divided into three classes or degrees of concern, represented by the number 1, 2 or 3. In each case, the higher the number, the more critical the concern. The system is defined as follows:

R (Rarity)

1: rare, but found in sufficient numbers and distributed widely enough that the potential for extinction is low for the foreseeable future
2: occurrence confined to several populations or to one extended population
3: occurrence limited to one or a few highly restricted populations, or present in such small numbers that it is seldom reported

E (Endangerment)

1: not endangered
2: endangered in a portion of its range
3: endangered throughout its range

D (Distribution)

1: more or less widespread outside New Mexico
2: rare outside New Mexico
3: endemic to New Mexico