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Plant Focus

Quercus acutissima subsp. kingii
Quercus acutissima Carruth. is a species whose natural distribution covers a vast territory in East and Southeast Asia, from central Nepal...

Launching the Global Oak Conservation Initiative at The Morton Arboretum

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Lisa Kenny and Murphy Westwood

Published May 2016 International Oaks No. 27: 277–289

Abstract

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, threatened oaks are under-represented in ex-situ collections, threat assessments for all species are needed, and targeted in-situ conservation projects are lacking. To address these challenges, The Morton Arboretum has launched the Global Oak Conservation Initiative to leverage the expertise and knowledge of botanical gardens, arboreta, and academic research institutions to build capacity and strengthen the conservation network in geographical regions with valuable and threatened oak diversity. The two key partners in the Initiative are Botanic Gardens Conservation International and Fauna & Flora International, which jointly run the Global Trees Campaign – the only international conservation program dedicated to saving the world’s threatened tree species. By working with these two international conservation NGOs under the umbrella of the Global Trees Campaign, the Initiative will bring together experts from multiple sectors to gain a deeper understanding and sharing of information needed to support oak conservation efforts. The first step of the Initiative is to complete IUCN Red List threat assessments for all of the world’s oak species. Based on the results of the threat assessments, The Morton Arboretum and its partners will prioritize key taxa for further conservation actions, such as developing ex-situ collections, identifying and reducing threats, providing local conservation training and education, and creating an oak conservation horticulture toolkit. These efforts will contribute to achieving the ultimate goal of coordinating effective ex-situ and in-situ conservation efforts to protect and secure the world’s oak species.

Keywords

Quercus, IUCN Red List, threat assessment, in-situ conservation, ex-situ conservation, integrated conservation management, Global Trees Campaign

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