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Louisiana Native Plant Initiative at Nicholls issues annual species report

THIBODAUX – The Louisiana Native Plant Initiative (LNPI) – a multi-institution effort that includes Nicholls State University – has issued its annual report for 2010, detailing the progress and expansion of species cultivation at the University Farm.

The initiative’s mission is to collect, preserve, increase and study native grasses, forbs and legumes from Louisiana’s ecosystems. In doing so, researchers hope to conserve a vanishing natural resource and help jumpstart the development of a native seed industry that will supply plant materials for restoration, revegetation, roadside plantings and the ornamental plant industry.

“Louisiana’s coastal wetlands have experienced significant habitat reductions,” Dr. Quenton Fontenot, Nicholls associate professor of biological sciences and coordinator of the marine and environmental biology graduate program, said. “The purpose of this annual report is to detail the restorative work that has been accomplished at the University Farm. I do hope that the public will continue to recognize the indispensability of the farm to the LNPI as our faculty and students work to preserve and multiply our native Louisiana plants on the Gulf coast.”

Having expanded steadily since its birth in 2006, the farm’s LNPI operation has cultivated 20 native species of seed crops, divided among three fields, one maritime forest preserve and one coastal dune garden. Faculty and students manage all crops with the intention of increasing the abundance of native plant materials for field testing and to provide partners with seeds for additional native plant increase.

Co-authors of the annual report – which details species type, geographical acquisition, yields and goals – include Gary Fine, vegetation specialist and research scientist at the Nicholls Farm, and Dr. Allyse Ferrara, associate professor of biological sciences at Nicholls.

Download the full report in PDF format to learn more.

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