While hebirvory and herbicides do contribute to the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid’s decline, habitat fragmentation of the prairie, mainly due to agricultural practices, is the leading threat to the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.
Habitat Fragmentation is the end result of natural and man-made processes that divide large areas into smaller areas. The fragmented areas severely affect the reproduction of endangered species by limiting gene flow.
Herbivory is defined as the consumption of plant material by animals. The Western Prairie Fringed Orchid's seed pods are a tasty treat to grazers such as deer on the Prairie. Conservationists hoping to save the orchid via micropropagation usually have to reach seed pods before deer do!
A herbicide is a chemical used to kill unwanted plants. If a Western Prairie Fringed Orchid happens to be near the spraying of agricultural fields or roadsides, it doesn't have enough vigor to survive.