Vern Harms Important Plant Areas of Saskatchewan
Important Plant Areas (IPAs) represent the most significant places in Saskatchewan for native plant and fungal species. Originally developed by PlantLife International, the IPA program has since been adopted worldwide. In 2018, the Saskatchewan Botanical Assessment Working Group (BAWG), of which the NPSS is a member, met to adapt this program for Saskatchewan. The resulting Vern Harms Important Plant Areas of Saskatchewan program is modeled after Montana's IPA program, and is named after Vern Harms, one of the province's preeminent botanists and a member of BAWG.
According to PlantLife International, an Important Plant Areas program should “inform and underpin existing international, regional and national conservation programmes and legislation”. Ultimately, their hope is “that Important Plant Areas will act as a benchmark for determining whether the strongest protection, under any existing legislation, is being afforded to the most important sites for plants”.
The intent of our IPA program is to identify exceptional places of native plant life in Saskatchewan in the hope that the designation will provide landowners, regulators and decision makers with information and an opportunity to direct development away from these significant sites.
Anyone may nominate sites to be considered as Important Plant Areas, which will then be adjudicated by BAWG.
For more information on the program and to nominate a site, please refer to the documents below.
Dragon's mouth orchid (Arethusa bulbosa), a provincially-rare plant (S1) growing in one of the newly-approved Important Plant Areas. Photo copyright: Glen Lee.