WILD ANIMALS may always be conservation's poster children, but without plants we would lose the very foundation of our terrestrial ecosystems.
Sadly, that diversity is shrinking precipitously. In the United States alone, between 20 and 30 percent of native plant species are now considered at risk of extinction.
The bright spot in this grim picture is the fact that new populations of imperiled plants are being located every year. Some represent a payoff for years of conservation work. Others are the result of fortuitous discoveries. And still others are being found with help of computer modeling. "The thing about rare plant species," explains botanist Bruce Stein, "is that they are often hidden in plain sight." READ MORE IN THE APRIL/MAY ISSUE of National Wildlife.