Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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Christmas Trees - BGCI and Tree Conservation

17 December 2012

Did you know?

Each year in the US, the President turns on the lights of the living National Christmas tree. The tradition of a having a living National Christmas tree in America commenced in 1924 when a 35-foot Norway spruce was donated to President Coolidge and planted near the White House on Sherman Plaza. This was a conservation message. At that time trees were not artificially reproduced at a large scale and instead each year trees were cut down from the wild. The gift of the living Norway spruce from the conservation organisation American Forests aimed to avoid deforestation at this time of year. 

BGCI and Tree Conservation

As the year comes to an end, BGCI looks at the work we have done to support tree conservation in 2012 and what is in store for 2013.

Integrated Conservation of Tree Species by Botanic Gardens - A Reference Manual

In December 2012, BGCI published a reference manual for botanic gardens and arboreta to support the integrated conservation of threatened tree species, using both in situ and ex situ techniques. The manual draws on both the scientific literature and practical experiences gained in tree conservation projects from around the world and is designed to help the development, planning and implementation of conservation activities focusing on tree species. To download a free copy of the manual, click here.

The Global Trees Campaign

A joint initiative between BGCI and Fauna and Flora International (FFI), the Global Trees Campaign exists to secure the future of the world's threatened tree species and their benefits for humans and the wider environment. Work as part of the Global Trees Campaign has been a key part of BGCI’s work plan for 2012 and will continue to be so in 2013 and years to come. Visit the Global Trees Campaign website here.

Red List Assessments of Threatened Trees

As part of our work under the Global Trees Campaign, BGCI are working to compile red lists of tree families and genera. To access the tree red lists produced by BGCI so far, click here. In 2013 BGCI will continue their tree red listing efforts, focusing on Ebenaceae, Betulaceae and Andean trees. 

Ex Situ Surveys of Threatened Trees 

BGCI have undertaken a number of surveys to determine the representation of threatened tree species in ex situ collections of botanic gardens and arboreta around the world. In February 2012, BGCI published a Global Survey of Ex situ Rhododendron Collections. We are currently running a survey of ex situ conifer collections. To find out more about the survey and find out how your institution can be involved, click here. The results of the ex situ conifer survey will be published next year to coincide with the release of updated conservation assessments on the IUCN Red List. To access other ex situ surveys of tree collections undertaken by BGCI, click here.

CITES Analyses

BGCI are currently working as a consultant on the IUCN/TRAFFIC Analyses of the Proposals to amend the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). This has involved analysis of a number of proposals for tree species to be included in the appendices, including Dalbergia and Diospyros populations of Madagascar, Dalbergia cochinchinensis, Dalbergia retusa and Osyris lanceolata. The analyses will be published on the CITES website on December 24th and the final decisions will be made at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the Convention (CoP16) in March 2013.

Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa

BGCI have recently secured funding from the Ashden Trust to undertake an exciting project to promote tree conservation and forest restoration work in association with botanic gardens in Africa. The project will last for three years and will involve a number of components. The first step is to conduct an ex situ survey of native tree collections in botanic gardens in Africa. If you are affiliated with a botanic garden or arboretum in Africa please contact to find out how you can contribute to this survey. The project will also involve a seminar in the UK in early 2013 for investors in reforestation projects to promote the use of native trees in reforestation projects and the highlight the potential for collaboration with botanic gardens and arboreta to achieve successful restoration. A workshop will also be run in East Africa in mid 2013 for botanic garden staff to learn more about how they can develop their tree conservation work and link with reforestation partners. As part of the project, BGCI will work with a number of botanic gardens in East Africa to develop reforestation sites. These reforestation projects will engage with local communities, use native tree species to reforest areas and will also be project sites for the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens.  

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