Please note that due to the rapid pace of progress and frequent additions to the Illinois Plants website, this page is currently in the process of being updated with new information, in addition to undergoing general editing. Thanks for your patience while this page is being updated.
Illinois faces as many serious conservation challenges as any US state. Beginning approximately 150 years ago, extensive agricultural and urban development have all but eliminated the great expanses of prairie that covered much of the state. Meanwhile, other habitats in Illinois have been dramatically degraded because of pollution, logging, grazing, and the introduction of non-native invasive species. Despite these challenges, Illinoisans have not given up on their natural landscapes. Conservation groups have made great efforts to conserve the last remaining pieces of native prairie that harbor many of the rarest plants in the Midwest and to expand these sites through ecological restoration. Urban conservation groups heroically preserve forests, prairies, and wetlands even in areas of the state with dense human populations. And state agencies doggedly maintain state parks and public lands while weathering political windstorms that rival the worst Alberta clipper.
As the Illinois Plants website develops, we will use this space to highlight the conservation issues that Illinois' plants face and the efforts to confront those issues.