Bog Restoration and Plant Conservation in Georgia
|Where: North Georgia|
|Find out more about the horticulture at Zoo Atlanta|
Plants make or break the suitability of most ecosystems. Just like animals, many plant species and habitats are also classified as endangered throughout the U.S. Zoo Atlanta’s Horticulture Department actively collaborates with partners across the state on critical conservation projects to protect native Georgia plant life and ecosystems from extinction.
The mountain bog is one of Georgia’s rarest ecosystems and is home to equally rare plant and animal species, including the purple pitcher plant and the imperiled bog turtle. Only a few hundred of these habitats exist in the state, and unfortunately, even fewer are capable of being restored. Zoo Atlanta’s Horticulture Department partners with DNR on initiatives to restore these endangered ecosystems to their original function.
Fighting fire with fire
Two Zoo horticulturists are Type 2 Firefighters certified by the National Wildlife Coordinating Group. These individuals assist the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance (GPCA) with prescribed burns in natural areas of the state. Controlled fires control overgrowth by non-native, invasive plant species and remove dead wood, undergrowth and other elements that keep naturally-occurring wildfires from becoming unmanageable.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance (GPCA)
How can you help?
Support conservation efforts to protect local habitats, particularly wetlands. Minimize your own impact on the outdoors. Be gentle on your surroundings when you camp or hike, and never collect plants illegally.
Why go native?
When they go to select plants for their yards, many gardeners don’t realize that, if allowed to grow out of control, some non-native plant species can have disastrous effects on Georgia flora. Choosing native is choosing wisely! Do your research before planting, and consider species that promote the health and survival of our state’s own ecosystems.