AOS Conservation Policy

Masdevallia coccinea in cultivation, Pacifica, California.

Preservation and protection of orchids and their habitats throughout the world are among the primary goals of the AOS. The AOS encourages and engages in worthwhile activities to these ends, including but not limited to:

  • Propagation and cultivation of orchid species to maintain a diverse gene pool, especially for endangered species.
  • Formalization of procedures to ensure the protection and maintenance of orchid species in private and research collections where neglect endangers the plants.
  • Development and dissemination of proper cultural information for species to ensure their survival and propagation.
  • Support and development of national parks and nature preserves worldwide.
  • Management of orchid habitats, endangered or not.

What you can do to help

Conservation is one of today’s most widely discussed topics and one of the keystones of the American Orchid Society's mission. Each member of the AOS can play a part in the global conservation of orchids. You can start by making sure the orchid species you have in your collection are well-grown and not inadvertently killed by neglect or ignorance. This is amazingly simple. It is known as ex situ conservation and it is defined as the preservation of species outside of their natural range. In other words, by growing your orchid species well, you are contributing in a real way to a conservation effort. After all, an increase in better-grown species equates to more cultivated plants being available, and to a lessened demand for wild-collected plants. Every division you share of your species plants, every selfed or sibbed seed capsule, lowers the number of plants that must be collected from their increasingly decimated habitats. Orchid societies, both local and national, play an important part in this. We encourage our members to network effectively, so the plants collectively held by their group survive as a whole.

While individuals need to be encouraged to support larger issues with their votes, their checkbooks and their membership in advocacy groups such as the American Orchid Society, they should also do what they can at local levels to preserve species. Ex situ conservation is, in a real sense, where species preservation must start.