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Research Study To Help Plants
Find New Homes


April 8, 2004 :: No. 207

After World War II, many Europeans without homes were known as DPs or Displaced Persons.

Present-day developers in south Orange County and elsewhere are creating a new category of DPs — displaced plants.

By law, sensitive or endangered species of plants that are removed to make way for new housing developments must be relocated to another location with a similar native terrain on a one-to-one basis. Thus, if 100 plants are displaced by housing, 100 plants must be planted elsewhere.

C. Eugene Jones, chair and professor of biological science, and Darren Sandquist, assistant professor of biological science, recently received a $77,512.50 contract from LSA Consulting for a five-year study of Calochortus weedii var. weedii, a rare lily (often called the California lily) that is found in coastal and other parts of Orange County.

Jones and Sandquist are being aided in their study by a number of graduate and undergraduate students. Jones is focusing on plant development in the bulb stage, while Sandquist is studying the plant from the standpoint of seeds and seed germination.

“Developers are responsible under the law for replacing sensitive species of plants being displaced by housing,” said Jones. “With our research, we will try to identify the factors that will make mitigation efforts a success.

“Years ago, developers did not recognize the need to work with scientists in dealing with plant mitigation,” Jones added. “They do now.”

As part of the study, more than 300 bulbs have been planted in soil that approximates native habitat in an area outside the university’s Biological Science Greenhouse Complex.

“The project benefits the client and the county, and enhances the university’s academic mission of research and educating students,” Sandquist said.

“Students {assisting the effort} get a lot of real-world experience, which can lead to jobs in environmental consulting and related areas,” noted Jones.
Environmental consulting is a significant component in Orange County’s growth and development, according to the researchers, who noted that a number of alumni are working for such firms.

Jones’ earlier long-term study on the Santa Ana River Wooly Star plant was one of the university’s first research projects in plant mitigation. That study has helped attract other grants, according to Jones.

Media Contacts: C. Eugene Jones, chair and professor of biological science, at 657-278-3614 or cejones@fullerton.edu
Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at 657-278-4855 or dreid@fullerton.edu

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