Global Tree Conservation

Working with Botanic Gardens to Conserve the Trees of the United States

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The Center for Species Survival: Trees is collaborating with botanic gardens across the United States and Mexico to ensure the survival and sustainable management of threatened or at-risk species of U.S. trees.

Focusing particularly on exceptional species such as oaks that cannot be stored in seed banks, the program uses the One Plan Approach, developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group. It calls for the development of management strategies and conservation actions by all responsible parties for all populations of a species, whether inside or outside their natural range.

At The Morton Arboretum, the Center for Species Survival: Trees supports the surveying, collection, propagation, and cultivation of U.S. trees of conservation concern that are underrepresented in ex situ collections in botanic gardens, and promotes genetically-diverse ex situ collections of high conservation value. The center uses the published checklist of U.S. trees to prioritize conservation and research efforts for the most threatened species on the list.

Targeted expeditions, planned in collaboration with numerous partners in the United States and Mexico, will survey and collect plant material for genetic analysis and distribution to botanic gardens and arboreta in North America. These institutions will propagate and grow the plants for their long-term conservation.

Results from the genetic studies will help us better understand species identities and distributions so we can better conserve the trees both in their native habitats and in living collections.

Researchers will use information and genetic data developed from the expeditions to develop conservation action plans, guiding documents that researchers and conservationists can follow to conserve the threatened species for the next five to ten years.

The Center for Species Survival: Trees team also adapts and develops tools that help scientists, land-managers, and botanic gardens better conserve priority species.


These efforts include the USDA Forest Service, United States Botanic Garden, Botanic Gardens Conservation International-U.S., NatureServe, ArbNet, and many more.


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