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Plant Focus

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

Oak Conservation and Research Fund

2020 Funding Round Now OPEN! Deadline: Dec 10, 2020

Download the Application Form and Guidelines

At least 110 species (>25%) of the world’s estimated 425 oak species are threatened with extinction. In response to this worrying statistic, the International Oak Society created the Oak Conservation and Research Fund, established with a generous donation from Mark and Jolly Krautmann in 2019, and with additional support from dozens of other IOS members around the world. In 2020, we are pleased to announce the first call for proposals to this fund. The fund will disburse two $5,000 awards and five $1,000 awards, with priority given to the following conservation and research themes, which were identified through an IOS membership survey administered in 2019:

Habitat restoration: The practice of renewing or restoring degraded habitats and ecosystems to support oak regeneration through interventions such as canopy thinning, removing invasive plant species, excluding non-native herbivores, and modifying fire regimens.

 Ex-situ conservation: Protecting a species outside of its natural habitat and/or range by maintaining genetically diverse and representative collections, either in botanic garden and arboretum living collections, in cryopreservation, or in tissue culture. Since oaks are “exceptional species” their acorns cannot be seed banked through conventional methods, so these other types of ex-situ collections are critically important conservation tools.

Field survey and population monitoring: Conducting observational studies in the wild to correctly identify species and to determine if a species is present or absent in its historic or predicted range; evaluating size, health, growth, phenology, hybridization, seed production, age-class distribution, and other characteristics of populations; identifying threats to populations.

Education: Providing training, teaching, outreach, and public engagement to raise awareness of the importance of oaks and solutions to the threatening factors that are driving them to extinction.

Population reintroduction and reinforcement: The purposeful, strategic, and scientifically informed planting of threatened species into the wild in their historic or future predicted range to maintain or increase genetic diversity and ensure future resiliency and adaptive capacity of the species.

The Fund will prioritize applications that target threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) or Data Deficient oak species and/or projects focused in one of the global diversity hotspots for oaks: Mexico, China, Central America, USA, and Southeast Asia. Projects that build conservation and research capacity in low-income economy countries will also be given priority. 

Application timeline:

  • Deadline for receipt of applications: 23:59 GMT December 10, 2020 
  • Notification of results by: January 31, 2021
  • Deadline to spend funds and complete project: December 31, 2022
  • Deadline to provide final report and financial summary to IOS: January 31, 2023 or within two months of project completion, whichever is sooner.

Click here to download the application form and guidelines.

For questions, please email conserveoaks@internationaloaksociety.org

Remember there is still time to donate to the Oak Conservation and Research Fund and help conserve oaks worldwide. Click here for more information.