California Native Plant Society

Rare Plant Program

Rare Plant Status Review Process

Sclerocactus polyancistrus (M. DeDecker 1957)
Sclerocactus polyancistrus (M. DeDecker 1957)

Since its beginning, the CNPS Rare Plant Program (RPP) has always taken an iterative, book-driven approach to data development and dissemination for the Inventory. This has resulted in a 5-7 year span between editions of the hardcopy Inventory. Though a perfectly sound approach in the pre-internet days, this approach is no longer adequate. The need to provide current plant status information, combined with new ways to accumulate and distribute data, has led to the possibility and the need for a continuous Inventory review process.

The RPP has now shifted to such a continuous data analysis and dissemination approach. Major changes to the Inventory (i.e. additions, deletions, CNPS list changes, scientific name changes) will be continuously reviewed by CNPS, California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB), regional Plant Status Review groups, and other experts. Once consensus is reached about a change, it will be added to a group of pending changes, which will all be implemented and disseminated on a quarterly basis.

(For the process of reviewing rare lichens, please see Sponsoring Lichens of Conservation Concern. For information about the inclusion of rare lichens in the CNPS Inventory, visit this page.)

 

The Process

Flow chart for processing proposed additions or status changes to the CNPS Inventory

1. Proposed Addition/Status Change Submitted to or Identified by CNPS. Potential additions and changes to the CNPS Inventory are identified by, or proposed to, the CNPS Botanist, who initiates the review process prior to listing the proposal on the Rare Plant Status Review Forum and sending the proposal out to Regional Plant Status Review Groups.

1. Proposed addition/status change identified
2. Information Query/Status Criteria Assessment. The CNPS Rare Plant Program conducts a search of all pertinent information from relevant publications, available herbarium records, available CNDDB reports, and information from experts who have direct knowledge of the distribution, taxonomy, and biology of the proposed taxon.

2. Research: literature, herbarium records, CNDDB reports, communication with experts, etc.
3A. Initial Status Review. The CNPS Rare Plant Program and the CNDDB Botanist, with assistance of knowledgeable experts, will initiate a status review including a proposed ranking. The CNPS Botanist will send the status review documents to Regional Review Groups and other knowledgeable botanists by means of email, and post the proposed status review on the CNPS Status Review Forum for comment. After 3 weeks, the CNPS Botanist will send out a “Final Call” for information extending the Status Review Forum comment period 2 additional weeks, notifying all involved groups and previously consulted experts, and request further clarification, comments, or additional expertise including the Rare Plant Program Committee.

3A. Status review documents sent to Regional Review Groups and to potential experts identified during document production, posted on Status Review Forum.
3A. If a general consensus of reasoning regarding status has been reached following the "Final Call", the comment period will be closed. The CNPS Botanist will then make a final determination in consultation with the CNDDB Botanist , and will post the change to the Inventory. If general consensus has not been reached proceed to step 3B.

3A. Final decision made, comment period closed, change made to the Inventory.

3B. Second Status Review Period. If a general consensus of reasoning is not reached during the initial review period and no clear evidence for a logical determination acquired, the CNPS Botanist shall consult with the RPPC, acquire additional supporting rationale and information, and initiate a second and final review period. After 2 weeks, if a general consensus of reasoning regarding status has been reached, the comment period will be closed. The CNPS Botanist will make a final determination in consultation with the CNDDB Botanist, and will post the change to the Inventory.

3B. Final decision made, comment period closed, change made to the Inventory.
3C. In-Person Meeting or Postpone Decision. If a general consensus of reasoning is not reached after a third review period and no clear evidence for a logical determination acquired, then the CNPS Botanist shall: (1) convene an in-person meeting, including all interested parties with relevant botanical expertise, the CNDDB Botanist, and at least one RPPC member, in order to make a collaborative status determination based on available information and will post the change to the Inventory, or (2) postpone a determination until significant additional information has been acquired.
3C. Final decision made, comment period closed, change made to the Inventory.
Final decision not made at this time, decision postponed until sufficient information acquired.
   
1If consultation between CNPS Botanist and CNDDB Botanist leads to disagreement among the two parties in the determination then Step 3B will be initiated.

 

 

Instructions on how to register on the Rare Plant Status Review Forum

 

How to Recommend an Addition, List Change, Deletion or Name Change in the CNPS Inventory

In order to expedite the review and processing of major changes (additions, deletions, or list changes), we ask that requesters formally request or “sponsor” proposed changes by using our new sponsorship package. This new procedure is more efficient because it specifies the type of data we need, organizes the information in a standard format, and makes it easier to identify data gaps. The sponsorship package requests supporting data and rationale for a proposed major change and consists of 4 documents, which can be downloaded using the links below:

We encourage those who would like to propose new major changes to the Inventory, as well as those who have previously requested changes, to try out the new sponsorship forms and submit them via e-mail or regular mail.

 

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