Plant Industry - Plant Protection Section -
Plant Conservation Program
Plant Conservation Preserves
Plant Conservation Preserves are lands permanently protected for the conservation of North Carolina’s native flora and their habitats. There are currently 24 Preserves, all managed by the NC Plant Conservation Program under the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All Plant Conservation Preserves are accessible only by permit. See below for information regarding obtaining an access permit.
Plant Conservation Preserves are designed to protect some of North Carolina’s most imperiled plants and their natural habitats.
Plant Conservation Preserves also protect:
- hundreds of common native plant species and many NC significantly rare plant species
- locally adapted and unique genotypes
- vestiges of our Natural Heritage, including native plant communities and declining or historic landscapes
- reservoirs and safe havens for native pollinators
- native animal species and their habitats
- wetlands and water quality
Stewardship of Plant Conservation Preserves
Upon establishment of a Preserve, PCP works to restore or maintain the integrity of the natural habitat for the benefit of the species for which the Preserve was established.
Active management is often necessary to ensure the viability of target species populations. Many Preserve habitats and target species require natural distrubances to main their integrity. The natural condition of most Preserves had been altered prior to acquisition. As a consequence, many rare plant species that occur in these types of communities have declined, especially in habitats historically maintained by fire. In addition to management, staff implement monitoring programs to determine the status and trends of target species populations.
Access Permits for Plant Conservation Preserves
Visits to Plant Conservation Preserves require a permit. To apply for a Preserve Access Permit, follow the instructions on our permits page.