New Gap Analyses of Ex-Situ Collections and In-Situ Conservation Needs for US Oak Species

Establishment of Quercus havardii seedlings within a greenhouse at The Morton Arboretum, lead by Sean Hoban through a conservation seed collection funded by the US Forest Service and APGA. Hoban explains, "In 2016 we drove 2,000 miles across the Western US to visit 36 populations and collect 1,700 acorns, and we then distributed these acorns to 10 institutions across the US... Also we are analyzing the genetic structure of this species because its populations are very small and fragmented, which could be a conservation threat." 
© Emily Beckman

Through support from the United States Forest Service and BGCI U.S., The Morton Arboretum has begun work delving into provenance-level accessions data for US native oaks, with plans to form the most holistic analysis of oak collections’ conservation value currently available. A comparison will be drawn between the representation of ex-situ collections versus the natural range of every threatened US oak species. These data will be incorporated with research regarding in-situ distributions to create a shortlist of priority species, followed by proposed conservation actions within key areas of need. We are excited to share these findings in a publication at the end of the year and hope to create innovative and replicable methods, leading the way for similar studies among different regions and taxa.

We are currently requesting accessions data, including provenance information, from all gardens that maintain oak species. Please send us a full electronic export (Excel spreadsheet or CSV preferred) from your collections database for the genus Quercus. All data contributions will be managed confidentially.

Please contact Emily Beckman with data, questions, and/or comments at ebeckman@mortonarb.org.

The deadline for providing collection information for this analysis is February 28th. Visit http://www.bgci.org/news-and-events/news/1387/ for more information.