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Procedures: Rare plant surveys

The Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS) conducts rare plant surveys primarily for vascular plants and has provided funding for limited moss and liverwort surveys.

MBS plant surveys are conducted to:

1. Review of existing information

Prior to conducting field surveys for rare plants in a particular county or region, information about the landscape and plants that may be present is reviewed. Some of the sources consulted are:

2. Selection of targeted plants and survey sites

Based on review of existing information, the rare plants likely to be present in the county or ecological unit are identified. Sites and other habitats likely to contain areas of preferred habitat for the targeted plants are identified and a seasonal work plan is developed to optimize locating the targeted plants.

3. Field surveys

Botanists conduct field surveys for targeted plants mostly between late April and mid-September. Timing of searches for specific rare plants is determined primarily by the life history of the species (when does it flower or fruit?), with attention paid to variations in seasonal weather patterns. Plant collections are made using standard herbarium procedures.

4. Information management

Data collected during plant surveys are recorded on field forms, in electronic data files, and as museum voucher specimens. After field surveys are completed: