Endangered species -- Oregon, Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Endangered species -- Oregon -- Distribution, Endangered species -- Classification
Extinction is a natural process. Today, however, plant and animal species are disappearing world-wide at an accelerated pace. Based on current trends, half of the species on earth will be extinct within the next 100 years. The major cause of this phenomenon is large-scale destruction of native habitats, which has increased since European settlement began in the mid 1800's - in Oregon and throughout the New World.
Once lost, a species can never be recovered, and there is no way of knowing how useful it may have been. We do know that human beings and many of their industries depend on plant and animal products. About 50% of all pharmaceuticals have a natural component as an active ingredient, yet less than one percent of the world's species have been chemically analyzed and tested. Many invertebrates and plants contain undescribed and highly functional compounds. Limnanthes floccosa subsp. grandiflora, or wooly meadow-foam, a rare plant that grows in southwest Oregon, has been recently found to produce a hybrid with the more common member of the genus, Limnanthes alba. This hybrid grows well in the poorly drained soils of the Willamette Valley and produces a valuable oil used for soaps, plastic and rubber production. In addition, the new hybrid meadow-foam does not require the field burning necessary for other crops. This species, and many other Oregon natives, will be lost without intervention. The purpose of this book is to provide land managers, owners and interested parties with a list of those species in Oregon which are in greatest jeopardy.
Oregon Natural Heritage Program. 2001. Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plants and Animals of Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland, Oregon. 94 pp. (98 pp. PDF).