California is home to more species of plants and animals than any other state in the country. Just days before the Global Climate Action Summit in mid-September, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order directing the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to work together to restore habitats in order to protect the diverse plants, animals and ecosystems in California which are threatened by climate change. The order also establishes September 7 as California Biodiversity Day each year.
In addition, the Governor released the California Biodiversity Initiative, a roadmap to help agencies and communities work together to save California’s unique plants, animals and ecosystems. At the Governor’s request, the 2018-19 state budget also included a new allocation of $2.5 million to launch this California Biodiversity Initiative in partnership with tribal groups, educators and researchers, the private sector, philanthropic groups and landowners. Arboretum and Public Garden staff members Dr. Shannon Still and Mary Burke were both involved for close to a year in a series of advisory meetings with the Governor’s team. These sessions brought together ecologists and botanists from across the state to draft the original charter documents and recommendations for this important California Biodiversity Initiative.
Much work obviously lies ahead, but we are excited about being part of a much wider collaborative effort across the state to increase public understanding of and support for the incredible beauty and richness of the California flora, and the many unique birds, insects, and wildlife that depend upon it.