Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance
The Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, or GPCA, is an innovative network of 20 public gardens, government agencies, academic institutions and environmental organizations committed to preserving Georgia's endangered flora. Formed in 1995 with the Nongame Conservation Section as a charter member, GPCA initiates and coordinates efforts to protect natural habitats and endangered species through biodiversity management, rare plant propagation and outplanting (i.e., safeguarding), and public education.
From research, habitat restoration and management to hands-on stewardship projects with elementary schools, the resources, expertise and outreach strategies of GPCA members provide powerful tools for plant conservation.
A key example is the restoration and management of oak/pine mafic woodlands in the northern Piedmont. This fire-dependent and globally imperiled habitat supports rare flora such as the federally endangered smooth coneflower, state-protected Georgia aster and Fraser’s loosestrife, and the rare curlyheads.
GPCA has helped the U.S. Forest Service and the Nongame Conservation Section restore six woodland sites by clearing woody vegetation and outplanting nearly a thousand rare plants. The association also developed a cadre of wildland firefighters who assist the Forest Service with prescribed fire, burning nearly 3,000 acres of oak/pine woodland during the last four years.