Partnering to Advance Conservation of Non-Orthodox Seeded Tree Species

Pam Allenstein, American Public Gardens Association

American Public Gardens Association and the United States Forest Service are working together to establish living gene banks of tree species at risk. Efforts focus on non-orthodox seeded at-risk taxa native to U.S. forests which cannot be conserved through traditional seed banking methods. Our Tree Gene Conservation Partnership annually awards matching funds to Association members to support collaborative scouting and collecting trips, propagation, and distribution among public gardens for safeguarding in ex situ collections. Launched in 2015, the Partnership has contributed to the conservation of 34 tree species in 22 states and Puerto Rico. Diverse collaborations among 65 public gardens, state and federal agencies, universities, forest industry, and conservation alliances have participated in the partnership. In 2020 alone, the Partnership supported collecting over 1,000 seeds of Hawaiian endemic Melicope rostrata, discovery of new populations of endangered Quercus boyntonii in Alabama with 667 acorns distributed to partnering public gardens, and collection of 374 Juglans californica walnuts for safeguarding this vulnerable species.