The conference will be composed of sessions, groupings of talks that focus on a particular theme or topic. As a multidisciplinary effort, our conference aims to nourish professionals and plant lovers across four tracks: conservation, plant science, horticulture and education. Our sessions have been chosen and designed to support important dialogues, discoveries and inspiration across these four tracks. Each session is led by a session chair(s). For an overview of all sessions with title and description, view the table below.
|Collaboration in the Age of Conflict: Working with Partners Across the NGO, Public and Private sectors
|The increasing scale and interrelatedness of conservation and resource management requires strong collaboration. This session will focus on case studies of effective multi-stakeholder partnerships, along with important lessons learned.
|California State Conservation Context (30×30)
|In recent years, the state of California has initiated ambitious endeavors
to conserve its biodiversity while adapting to a changing climate and
other challenges, such as wildfire and the development of renewable
energy. Initiatives like 30×30, the governor’s biodiversity executive
order, and recent budget investments provide a framework for a
sustainable future for the state’s natural areas and its human
|Justice & Inclusion in Native Plant Conservation and Equitable Access to Nature
|Low-income and communities of color continue to have less access to
nature and career opportunities in the conservation field. This session
will showcase areas where the native plant conservation field can
support movements to create more accessible parks, career pathways,
and opportunities for those who have the least access to nature.
Session 3 details / Session 18 details
|The CNPS BIPOC Group came up with the BIPOC Perspectives session
in which BIPOC presenters could have a space to speak upon their
experiences in the conservation community. The aim is to highlight
BIPOC work and perspectives historically ignored in the conservation community.
|Land Back and Comanagement with Traditional Ecological Knowledge
|Colonization dispossessed indigenous peoples of their ancestral lands thus removing indigenous cultural and stewardship activities from occurring on the landscape. The conservation movement in California is well positioned to support indigenous peoples gaining free, unfettered and undisturbed access to their lands. This session will cover #LandBack efforts, where indigenous peoples are advocating for and gaining ownership and access to their ancestral lands to manage and co-manage ecosystems using traditional ecological knowledge. Learn about ways you can support and uplift the #LandBack movement.
|Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Conservation in the Face of Timber Harvest and Fuel Management
|What would California’s forests look like absent 200 years of aggressive timber harvest and 100 years of fire suppression? How do we restore and maintain a more natural forest structure and appropriate fire regime? What are the risks if we don’t act? This session will look at the historic condition and influence of indigenous management in the fire-adapted forests of northern California, as well as current forest condition and trends, and discuss actions (including timber harvest) and key issues to consider in restoring our frequent-fire forests.
|Good Fire: How Restoring Ecosystem Processes is Key to Ecosystem Health
|Although often maligned in the media, much of California’s flora is
adapted to fire and the restoration of this process is vital for
conservation and ecosystem management. Prescribed fire and the
cultural burning practices of Native Americans have great potential to
ensure that habitats continue to be biodiverse, while increasing the
safety of human communities.
|Resilience in the Face of Fire
|Fire is a fact of life in California. While this natural process is essential for most of our state’s ecosystems, challenges ensue when human infrastructure intersects with wildfire. This session explores the myriad ways that people are working to adapt to life with fire while ensuring that habitats and ecological processes remain intact.
|Climate Change, Conservation Science, and Adaptive Management
|Climate change poses novel risks to species, from contributing to
changing fire regimes, drought, the spread of invasive species, and
influencing shifts in the ranges for native species. This session will
focus on climate change through the lens of conservation science, how
this impacts management decisions, and how adaptive management is
more important now than ever.
Session 8 details / Session 23 details
|Vegetation Mapping & Monitoring (new & traditional technologies)
|Government agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, and consulting
firms continue to improve standards, techniques, and resulting
products of vegetation mapping — especially since Geographic
Information Systems, imagery, LiDAR, and remote sensing technologies
have expanded from the late 20th Century on through today.
Vegetation mapping and monitoring are important tools for species,
habitat, and landscape-level assessment, analysis, monitoring, and
conservation, driving many of today’s decisions for land-use planning.
This session showcases promising uses of vegetation mapping and
monitoring to positively impact decision-making in conservation and
management throughout California.
Session 12 details / Session 17 details
|Conifers in the Face of Climate Change
|Coniferous vegetation occurs from the Coastal zone (coast redwood,
coastal cypress) to high-elevations (whitebark pine, bristlecone pine)
and areas in between in the foothills and mountains (coastal
Douglas-fir, Pacific ponderosa pine). The risks they face due to climate
change, insects, and pathogens, intensive logging, large scale and
severe wildfires, and other stressors are immense. This session focuses
on research and management efforts underway today in California to
examine the status and trends of coniferous vegetation in response to
climate change and other interacting stressors.
|Chaparral Resilience and Future Concerns
| Chaparral contains 24 percent of California’s native plant species, and
more of these plants are considered rare here than in any other plant
community. Since chaparral exists in every single county, chaparral
represents the most accessible native plant experience to the greatest
number of Californians and visitors to our state, and it provides unique
research and educational opportunities. Due to the uniqueness of
chaparral it presents major challenges to fire managers concerned with
balancing fire hazard reduction and resource conservation. This session
will explore the remarkable biodiversity, resilience, and value that
chaparral provides to all the life forms and the need to address threats
to vegetation type conversion in light of many global changes.
Session 6 details / Session 16 details
|Oaks & Oak Woodlands
| Oak woodlands have been enduring anthropogenic threats since the state of California was formed in 1849. These threats include urban and agricultural development and ranching, fire suppression, and a mosaic of pressures – disease, drought, invasive species, and fire – associated with and exacerbated by fire suppression, unintended horticultural practices, and a changing climate. This session will examine critical California oak woodland habitats by exploring the science, policies, cultural burning, and other practices necessary to conserve, stabilize, and regenerate critical oak woodlands ecosystems in the face of ever-increasing social, climatic, and ecological pressures.
|Grasslands & Prairies
| California grasslands are among the most endangered ecosystems in
the United States and are important subjects of ecological research and
experimentation. This session focuses on native grassland research and
management including biodiversity enhancement, invasive species,
livestock grazing, and restoration within our unique California
| The field of floristics covers the range of studies focused on
documenting and understanding the components of the flora of a local
area, a county, regions, to the entire state, and beyond. Floristics covers
the basic components that supports a wide range of disciplines, from
basic science to land use planning. Without understanding the flora,
we are just guessing as to what the flora of a given area is, including
the common and rare species.
Session 37 details / Session 42 details
| Rare plants make up one-third of California’s native flora. They
encompass nearly every habitat type and elevation range, are beautiful,
and are important contributors to pollinators, ecosystem functions, and
the rich biodiversity of the state. While great progress has been made
at broader levels—families and genera— the California flora is still far
from being understood at the species-level and it’s expected that
hundreds of taxa have gone unnoticed by taxonomists; most of these
will have narrow ranges and thus be more vulnerable to human
impacts. Powerful tools are now available to describe and understand
plant diversity in California, including a host of reduced representation
sequencing methods, to understand fine-scale diversity and evolution.
Session 26 details / Session 36 details / Session 41 details
|Effects of Fire Suppression & Fuels Management on Rare Plants
| California’s native flora, including rare plants, is widely assumed to be
fire-adapted because fire has been a regular ecosystem disturbance
process for millennia. Now that we are seeing dramatic effects of the
Pyrocene period created by humans, there is a new urgency to
understanding the roles played not just by fire in California ecosystems,
but also the relatively recent syndromes of fuels reduction via
prescribed burning and mechanical removal of biomass that serves as
fuel; fire suppression tactics, including the wide firelines created by
bulldozers and the aerial application of chemical fire retardant; and the
challenges of post-fire restoration of landscapes, habitats and plant
populations. We will examine these topics in this session, as well as
taking a more nuanced look at the varied ways that plants adapt to fire
through avoidance, resprouting, and long term seed banks dependent
on fire cues for germination.
|Grazing & Rare Plants
| Compared to landscape- or animal-grazing interactions, there is
relatively little specific work that has gone into the rare plant-grazing
interaction. In conservation work, “grazing” is often used as a blanket
term, obscuring the complexity of using grazing as a management tool
to promote rare plant populations. Often the specific needs of rare
plant species that “grazing” could address are unique to the species
and require knowledge of both the ecology of the species and an
understanding of current grazing practices. Issues of scale, location,
infrastructure, and goals can further make grazing management
difficult, requiring alternative solutions. Current work specific to grazing
and rare plants is active with examples of both successes and failures.
Discussion of ongoing work and encouraging further research is
important for understanding long-term rare plant management and
|Fire & Native Plants/Habitats (restoration or otherwise)
|For many native plants and plant communities, fire is an essential
ecological disturbance process, and the use of fire in management
including indigenous land management is essential for the health and
longevity of forests, chaparral and so many other plant communities in
Mediterranean California. This session will explore California native
flora, vegetation and human relationships to fire.
|Invasive Plant Impacts, Monitoring, and Restoration
| Invasive plants are a major threat to native plant biodiversity in
California. This session will highlight cutting-edge research and new
techniques to prevent introduction, and scientifically manage existing
infestations, of the most damaging invasive plants in California.
Session 7 details / Session 27 details
|Plants, Habitats & Wildlife Interactions (Science and restoration)
|The relationships of plants and wildlife will be explored through
plant/habitat – wildlife resource monitoring, functional assessments,
and wildlife – habitat analyses. The effects of management techniques,
restoration, and environmental impacts on plant/wildlife relationships
including of plant–pollinator, plant–frugivore (seed disperser),
plant–herbivore, and other complex, interspecific ecological
interactions will be discussed.
|Bryology in California- Recent Advances in Understanding the Large Contribution of our Small Plants (mosses, liverworts and hornworts)
| Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) comprise more than
10% of California’s native plant species. This session focuses on our
rapidly expanding knowledge of the floristics, biogeography, ecology
and conservation priorities of these understudied but important native
|Innovation in California Herbaria and Specimen Records Use
| This session is intended to include an array of presentations around the
transformation of herbaria in the digital age, such as: new research
conducted using specimen data, educational and outreach innovations
undertaken by herbaria around digitization projects, progress made on
the ethical, technical challenges presented by the digital age.
Session 1 details / Session 11 details
|Serpentine Soils: from Microbes to Landscapes
| Serpentine soils, high in heavy metals and low in nutrients, give rise to specialized plant communities adapted to thriving in these harsh conditions. In this session we show how serpentine soils shape the plants and lichens that inhabit them at multiple scales, including effects via microbes, seeds, pollinators, and regional-scale biogeography.
|Current Research (Student Session)
| This students-only session provides a venue to highlight research that
focuses on the California flora. A number of topics will be explored in
this session, including plant taxonomy, rare plant biology, and plant
ecology of both native and invasive plant species.
Session 34 details / Session 39 details
|Horticultural Considerations in the Face of Climate Change
|This session will discuss the strategies and solutions for native plant
horticulture in the face of climate change, drought, fire, extreme storms,
and other environmental challenges. We will examine the value of
native plant horticulture in light of climate change.
|Native Plant Production & Sales
| Native plant gardening is one of the top trends in horticulture. To better
serve and grow this gardening sector better coordination is needed
across this industry. This session will include discussions on the
importance of the grower and nursery sectors planning and
communicating, including seed strategies, marketing, and production.
|Landscape Design with Native Plants
| Native plant landscapes provide a variety of ecological benefits and can
beautifully fit a variety of design aesthetics. This track will examine
best uses, emerging trends, and innovations in landscape design.
|Safety, Sanitation, Pathogens, & Pests
|The susceptibility and resistance of native species will be evaluated
through a combination of ecological techniques, population genetics,
genomics, and management. This session will focus on pathogens and
pests in horticulture and those currently threatening native California
|Restoration & Conservation in Horticulture
|This session will examine horticulture as a part of long-term
conservation and for restoration. Sessions will discuss managing the
recovery of a damaged or destroyed ecosystem that has been
degraded, damaged or destroyed through traditional ecological
knowledge and scientific understanding, and how horticulture can
support these activities.
|Native Plants in Public Spaces
| One of the best ways to get native plants into landscapes across California is through ordinances and other requestions. This track will discuss what is currently happening in regulations, what is and is not working, what is needed for broad scope regulations, and plans for the future.
|Changing Young Lives Through Outdoor Education
| Outdoor education for California’s young people is a vital way to foster
empathy, understanding and passion for the natural world. Hear from
outdoor educators who are leading programming and experiences for
young people that cultivate these connections and fundamentally
address aspects of outdoor access, equity and environmental justice.
|Community science is transforming our collective understanding of
biodiversity by galvanizing and including communities at every level.
As projects expand knowledge of native plants, they simultaneously
expand our shared connections to the natural world. Session speakers
will share strategies and approaches to designing, implementing and
interpreting community science projects.
|School Gardens: Creation, Politics, Maintenance, Curriculum, and Activation
| School Nature Gardens serve as outdoor classrooms, living
laboratories and community hubs centered around native plants.
Powerfully, these gardens illuminate the beauty and value of students’
own communities, providing a gateway to biodiversity not miles away,
but right at home. School Nature Gardens—and the opportunities they
create through classes, extracurricular programming and professional
development—have inspired generations of students to become
scientists, policymakers, horticulturalists and beyond. Hear from School
Nature Garden leaders about these vibrant landscapes and the
strategies to cultivate and activate them.
|Centering DEIJ in Native Plant Education
|Native plants are foundational to everyone’s well-being and are deeply
rooted in the most pressing social issues of our time, from settler
colonialism to environmental racism, outdoor access to food
sovereignty. For thousands of generations, Indigenous communities
have tended reciprocal and restorative relationships with native plants
that center on the intrinsic connections between plants, place and
people. Session speakers will discuss ways to illuminate the
intersectionalities of native plants and center DEIJ* in education to
transform and empower communities toward a shared love of place.
*Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
|Opening Reception and Poster Session
|Explore posters, the exhibit hall, and the art and photography exhibits while celebrating the first day of the conference with peers and friends! Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be provided and cash bars will be open. Poster authors and contributors will be available to answer questions and discuss their work.
|The fast-paced lightning talks session is not to be missed! Each five-minute talk presents an exciting idea intended to spark discussion amongst conference attendees.
Please join us in thanking our major sponsors for making this year’s event possible! Become a sponsor today.