Many native oaks are threatened with extinction in the wild. These trees are critical to the health and function of forest and shrubland ecosystems in the United States and provide essential habitat and food for many species. Conservation efforts exist, but more can be done by coordinating efforts and setting priorities. Working together to conserve oaks becomes more important as threats increase.
With the goal of coordinated action in mind, The Morton Arboretum conducted a comprehensive analysis of the achievements and most urgent needs for in situ (in the native habitat) and ex situ (in managed botanical collections) conservation of oak species in the United States. These efforts were undertaken in partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S., the USDA Forest Service, Fauna & Flora International, and the Global Trees Campaign.
The final report presents a summary of the analysis, including patterns in threats and conservation efforts for the most at-risk species and recommendations for the most urgently needed conservation activities. Of the 91 native U.S. oak species, the study identified 28 species of conservation concern. Each of these at-risk species is analyzed in a detailed species profile, providing specific recommendations for in situ and ex situ conservation actions and a listing of stakeholders currently engaged in conservation efforts. The results and guidelines provided in this study are a catalyst to encourage collaboration across disciplines, and to support efficient and effective biodiversity conservation, preserving our native oaks for generations to come.
For more information on the conservation gap analysis projects and to see the final reports for the Conservation Gap Analysis of U.S. Trees in Nine Priority Genera published in 2021, see the Conservation Recommendations for Trees Under Threat project page.