View Full Version : Economics of Endangered Plants

06-17-2004, 03:29 PM
From: Karyn Moskowitz, moskie@blueriver.net
Date: 10/18/01
Time: 03:11 PM

I am looking for any information on the economic valuation of endangered or threatened plants in California or other states. Please let me know if there is any information out there, on either direct or indirect use values. Thanks, Karyn

06-17-2004, 03:30 PM
From: Lori Hubbart lorih@mcn.org
Date: 11/11/01
Time: 09:32 PM

Karyn -

Your question is trickier than it seems! There are so many rare plants, I don't know if anyone has made an assessment of economic uses/potential for all of them. This would be quite an undertaking.

California black walnut was used as rootstock for English walnut, making possible the California walnut industry. Researchers are studying the oils found in the seeds of meadow foam (some species of which are rare) for commercial uses, but I can't recall for what kind of product. I'll email some other people and see if they come up with more examples.

Of course, the thing is that if a plant is rare, there wouldn't be enough of it to use for some economic purpose, unless it were grown commercially instead of taken from the wild. Many California natives have economic value as horticultural plants, and yes, some of them are rare. An example is Carpenteria californica, found only in a small area of Fresno County. It has been in the hort trade for many years, and is quite restricted in nature. There are other rare or endangered plants in the nursery trade as well. Perhaps individual species may not account for much of the nursery trade, but taken together, they definitely have economic value. Manzanitas are a good example - so many of them are rare. The one that I think of as the most popular in the trade is a form of Arctostaphylos densiflora called 'Howard McMinn' - and the species is rare. Can't recall if it is listed or not.

I'll write again if I get more information on this topic.


...Lori Hubbart