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Plant Focus

A guest post by Matt Candeias, host of the In Defense of Plants podcast and blog

New Efforts in Mexican Oak Conservation

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Allen J. Coombes, Susana Valencia-A., and Maricela Rodríguez Acosta

Published May 2019 in International Oaks No. 30: 269–276


With close to 170 species and almost 100 of these endemic, conservation work on oaks in Mexico is very important and in spite of recent advances, there is still much to be done. This we attribute to a lack of a systematic exploration to determine the exact distributions of the species. Our garden (Jardín Botánico Universitario-Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) has made efforts in conservation since 2000, and completed two examples of assessment for conservation with the support of FFI: Quercus hintonii and Q. insignis, two endangered species.
In this project, we decided to increase field exploration in Puebla by making regular field trips to the most remote and under-collected places, to find unreported species and increase knowledge of the distribution of others. We were thus able to eliminate 7 species previously reported for Puebla while 5 unreported species were found, giving a total of 46 species for Puebla, second only to Oaxaca. This result comes from the institutional commitment for conservation and the interinstitutional support provided by our participation in the Oaks of the Americas Conservation Network.
Intensive work has been carried out on Q. hirtifolia and detailed maps have been produced, showing its limited distribution and special habitat.
The results show the need to support botanical exploration at a national as well as a state level. This approach will increase our knowledge of the distributions in Puebla of the 46 species, how they relate to national populations, and which ones are candidates for conservation assessment.


Puebla oaks conservation, Puebla oak species, conservation assessment


González-Villarreal, L.M. 1986. Contribución al Conocimiento del Género Quercus (Fagaceae) en el Estado de Jalisco. Instituto de Botánica, Colección Flora de Jalisco. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara.

González-Villarreal, L.M. 2003a. Two new species of oak (Fagaceae, Quercus sect. Lobatae) from the Sierra Madre del Sur, Mexico. Brittonia 55(1): 49-60.

González-Villarreal, L.M. 2003b. Quercus tuitensis (Fagaceae, Quercus sect. Lobatae) a new deciduous oak from western Jalisco, Mexico. Brittonia 55(1): 42-48.

IUCN 2018. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2018-1. www.iucnredlist.org.

Rodríguez Acosta, M., A.J. Coombes, and J.L. Villaseñor. 2014. Flora del Estado de Puebla, México. Puebla: Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. 

Valencia-A., S. 2004. Diversidad del género Quercus (Fagaceae) en México. Boletín de la Sociedad Botánica de México 75: 33-53.

Valencia-A., S. and K.C. Nixon. 2011. Fagaceae. In Diversidad florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas (colecciones y lista de especies), edited by A.J. García-Mendoza and J.A. Meave. México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad.

Valencia-A., S., G. Flores Franco, and J. Jiménez Ramírez. 2015. A nomenclatural revision of Quercus acutifolia, Q. conspersa and Q. grahamii (Lobatae, Fagaceae). Phytotaxa 218(3): 289-294.

Valencia-A., S., A.J. Coombes, and J.L. Villaseñor. 2018. Quercus candicans (Fagaceae) is not a Quercus but a Roldana (Asteraceae). Phytotaxa 333(2): 251-258.

Vázquez-V., M.L. 1992. El género Quercus (Fagaceae) en el estado de Puebla, México. Tesis de Licenciatura, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Profesionales Zaragoza, UNAM, México.