Reviewing conifer conservation
2013 has been a busy year for conifer conservation with a global reassessment of the status of the world’s conifer species, a global ex situ survey of conifer collections undertaken, and ongoing practical conservation projects focused on safeguarding threatened conifers.
A global reassessment of the conservation statuses of the world’s conifers was undertaken and up-to-date assessments published to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in July 2013. This work was coordinated by Aljos Farjon, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Conifer Specialist Group, and jointly undertaken with staff at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The global reassessment highlighted that 34% of conifers are globally threatened with extinction.
BGCI have recently undertaken a global survey of ex situ conifer collections as part of our work contributing to the Global Trees Campaign, a joint initiative between BGCI and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to safeguard the world’s threatened trees from extinction. The survey found that 81% of globally threatened conifer taxa are present in ex situ collections. This means that Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) to have more than 75% of threatened plants in ex situ collections by 2020, is being met for threatened conifers.
However, further analysis of reported ex situ collections shows that many threatened conifers are limited to a small number of collections and that wild source collections consist of a small number of individuals. This both limits the security of these ex situ conservation efforts and limits their availability and suitability for recovery or restoration programmes.
Look out for the full report, which will be published early next year!
Click here to read about practical conifer conservation projects led by the Global Trees Campaign: