The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: How are carnivorous plants doing in the wild?

A: In the USA, wetlands are almost completely gone, having been transformed by human hands into agriculture, housing, business, and infrastructure. Only 3-5% of carnivorous plant habitat remains, so the plants are in desperate trouble. There are some preservation attempts being made, but even if completely successful will only save a few remnant and fragmented stands.

A problem which is becoming more obvious is that the use of Sphagnum and peat moss by the nursery trade (including carnivorous plant growers) supports a large industry of mining peat from bogs. This non-sustainable industry is gobbling up the last of our peat bogs.

Once a population of plants is greatly damaged, so that only relatively few number of specimens remain, poaching becomes a significant problem. Poaching is a significant threat to rare pitcher plants (i.e. Sarracenia and Nepenthes).

Overseas, things are just as bad. Some of the most flamboyant carnivorous plants such as Nepenthes live in the jungles of Malaysia and nearby islands, where slash and burn agriculture threatens them with extinction. Many species are already extinct.

The values of wetlands (as natural water treatment facilities and flood prevention sponges) are not recognized, and so are frequently "developed" (drained). Many of these issues can be addressed by letting your elected politicians know that you care about protecting the few sites that are left.

Page citations: Rice, B.A. 2006a; Schnell, D.E. 2002a; Simpson, R.B. 1994; C. Lee, private communication; personal observation; reader contributions.

back forward


Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018