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Plant Focus

Quercus look is one of the least-known oaks of the arid mountains of the Middle East. It grows on Mount Hermon and in the Anti-Lebanon...

Oak Red Listing Project

In collaboration with BGCI and the IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist GroupThe Morton Arboretum has launched a project to complete threat assessments for all of the world’s oak species for the IUCN Red List. It is known that many oak species are under threat from habitat destruction, climate change, invasive pests and pathogens, and competition from invasive plants. However, to date less than half of the world’s oak species have been evaluated for the Red List. Given the great global economic, ecological, and cultural value of 

A young Quercus sichourensis (Hu) C.C. Huang & Y.T. Chang (Critically Endangered) growing in a conservation grove at Kunming Botanical Garden in Yunnan Province, China. Photo: ©Murphy Westwood.

oaks, it is important to understand the threats they face. 

To complete the Red List assessments, we will be gathering extensive data on oak distributions, threats, population trends, and human uses. To obtain this often difficult-to-find information, developing relationships with the global network of oak experts is a key initiative for us. The International Oak Society network is a valuable resource for the oak red listing project and we look forward to hearing the input that IOS members can contribute to this effort.

A major milestone in the oak red listing project will be presenting the assessments at the 8th International Oak Society Conference, which is being hosted by The Morton Arboretum from October 18-21, 2015. Immediately following this Conference will be a meeting of the IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist Group. We hope that these two meetings will act to strengthen the global network of oak experts, generate new information to contribute to the assessments, and evaluate the data gathered thus far.

For further information on the oak red listing project or to contribute data, please contact Dr. Murphy Westwood, Tree Conservation Specialist at The Morton Arboretum: mwestwood@mortonarb.org