ï~~ 42 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 50 ED VOSS AND THE CONSERVATION OF MICHIGAN'S RARE FLORA Michael R. Penskar Michigan Natural Features Inventory Michigan State University Extension Stevens T. Mason Building, PO Box 30444 Lansing, MI 48909-7944 Of Ed Voss's many contributions and accomplishments as a botanist, professor, and much lauded teacher, as amply recounted and celebrated in this volume, his role as an indefatigable leader in plant conservation is one that should not be forgotten. His dedicated work in protecting and conserving the rare flora of Michigan and the Great Lakes region is an important legacy that will endure, his selfless devotion in this regard serving as a model to all (see Fig. 25). Ed Voss contributed to, and fostered, rare plant conservation throughout his career in numerous ways, as will be described below. Moreover, he initiated his efforts well before the existence, or significant expansion, of many national, state, and local conservation organizations now known to lead in such pursuits. Voss's work commenced prior to the advent of Earth Day in 1970 and the subsequent use and proliferation of such well-known terms or concepts as "biodiversity", "biophilia" (Wilson 1984), or more topically-"sustainability." His involvement in conservation also began long before formal studies in the emerging fields of conservation biology and ecosystem management helped to articulate the scientific rationale for conserving rare biota. It is therefore fitting and highly appropriate to honor Ed Voss's important work in rare plant and natural areas conservation by providing a brief overview and description of his particular contributions in these areas. As to how he may have regarded his purposeful work in this arena, it is easy to surmise, to those who knew him well, that he considered his involvement in conservation efforts to be much less an obligation than a natural and logical extension of his scientific endeavors. Thus, this work was pursued with the same vigor and thoroughness as applied to the Michigan Flora. One of Voss's most important roles in rare plant conservation was his long-time service as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Plants, as appointed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Threatened and Endangered Species Program. Initiated in 1974 following passage of the Michigan Endangered Species Act (Public Act 203 of 19741), the Technical Advisory Committee engaged Voss and his colleagues with the important task of drawing up Michigan's first Technical List of state endangered, threatened, and extirpated vascular plant species (encompassing pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and flowering plant taxa). Preparation of a state rare plant list was a ground-breaking task, yet the newly passed Michigan act provided 1Now re-codified as Part 365, Endangered Species Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994 (Michigan Compiled Laws 1994).
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