Restoration Potential: Polemonium vanbruntiae has been successfully raised under controlled conditions (Brumback 1989 and Popp 1990) from seed gathered in the wild, and seedlings have been transplanted to the wild with some success. All of the transplants (84 plants in all) survived the first summer, although some of them appeared more healthy than others at the end of the season. None showed evidence of having flowered.
Two transplant sites were used. One was an opening about 100 feet by 40 feet with 100 percent ground cover and little canopy cover. Dominant species were Carex crinita and Impatiens capensis, and Betula alleghaniensis was scattered. In September, the soil at this site was wet and saturated to the surface with some standing water. Many of the transplants at this site were in fair or poor condition at the end of the first season. The second site was an opening about 220 feet by 40 feet, with less ground cover than the first but considerably more canopy cover. In September the soil was moist, but not completely saturated. Most of the transplants here were in very good or good condition (condition was assessed by number of dead leaves on the plant). Because the experiment lacked controls, no conclusions can be drawn regarding habitat preference. However, the experiment does provide some useful information and seems to indicate that the plant can be propagated under greenhouse conditions and transplanted to the wild. The transplants will be monitored in subsequent years, providing more information.
In Pennsyvania, a natural population was transplanted to another site when the original site was to be destroyed by a dam. The transplants have apparently not been successful (Wiegman 1991).
No other recovery experiments are known. It is presumed that some undesirable habitat alterations (such as increased canopy cover, human or bovine traffic, and minor hydrological changes) can be reversed with success, but no restoration experiments have been done in Polemonium vanbruntiae habitat.
Preserve Selection and Design Considerations: Protection of Polemonium vanbruntiae populations must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Many of the populations seem to rely upon seepage water; in these populations protection of the water regime would be necessary to protect the populations. In some cases this may require protection of the entire watershed of the wetland in which the population lives.
In general, each population should be provided with enough habitat to insure that activities outside the protected area will not affect the plants.
Management Requirements: It is unknown whether active management would benefit this species, but habitat observations suggest that canopy opening in some populations might be beneficial. More information is needed to verify this.
It is suggested that in some representative shaded populations, limited experimentation with canopy opening be done, and the populations carefully monitored. In certain small, shaded populations (such as the single Maine population), this may be the only hope for securing the population.
Management Programs: No active management for this species is known. The work in Vermont (Popp 1990) is regarded as experimental only.
Monitoring Programs: No formal monitoring programs of natural populations are known in any of the states or provinces where this species occurs (see discussion of introduced population under RECOVERY-POT). The Maine Natural Heritage Program (Department of Economic and Community Development, Augusta, Maine, 04333) intends to initiate monitoring of Maine's single population.
Management Research Programs: In Vermont, a transplant experiment is underway to determine the success of transplanting garden-grown seedlings into the wild. See RESTOR.POTENTL above, and Popp (1990).
Biological Research Needs: The following questions regarding the ecology and biology of this species need to be addressed before it can be managed properly:
Does woody encroachment cause decreases in population size or vigor?
What are the habitat characteristics (water regime, soils, pH, light) of the large and vigorous populations?
Can habitat characteristics of known populations be used with success to locate new populations?
To what extent does the plant reproduce vegetatively as opposed to sexually? Under what conditions is each method favored?
What are the pollinators?
How are seeds dispersed?
Under what conditions do seeds germinate and produce mature plants?
How long does it take a plant to reach sexual maturity? What are the negative and positive effects of trampling by grazing animals?