Saving Hawaiʻi’s rarest native plants from extinction

Hawaiʻi’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP) is aiming to protect Hawaiʻi’s rarest native plants from extinction.

PEPP focuses on species with fewer than 50 plants remaining in the wild and is committed to reversing the trend toward extinction by managing wild plants, collecting seeds, and establishing new populations.

The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated land masses on Earth. Their isolation has created a biological hotspot where approximately 90% of native flora is endemic (found nowhere else in the world). Hawai‘i’s unique flora is under constant threat of extinction due to a myriad of threats.

Field botanist for the Plant Extinction Prevention Program, Steve Perlman has  dedicated himself to saving Hawaii’s dying species of plant life for the last 45 years.

Steve Perlman focuses on cultivating rare plants in the wild, often navigating unchartered territory to locate the last survivors.

Today, PEPP protects 190, or about half, of all threatened and endangered plant species in the state.

The small team of 11 at PEPP rappel off of cliffs, helicopter into remote valleys and hike miles into the Hawaiian wilderness in search of these rare species. Without their daring work, these plants may be lost forever to history.

PEPP focuses on the 237 PEP Species with fewer than 50 wild individuals. According to PEPP, it only takes $5000 to protect one of our rarest species each year.

Over 120 rare species now regenerate naturally thanks to the work of PEPP.

PEPP are calling on sponsors to help them reach their $480,000 target to protect 98 species. If you would like to support PEPP, visit their website to donate.


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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