Flagship species act as ambassadors for their environments, reminding people of the importance of conservation efforts around the world. These are species which capture the heart of the public. They often form the basis for conservation programmes. Because many threatened trees grow in forests, protecting a single iconic species has the added effect of saving other tree species and protecting the habitat for other plants and animals. These trees can also play important cultural roles in the lives of local communities.
Monkey puzzle tree – Araucaria araucana
The national tree of Chile and a flagship species for several National Parks in southern Chile, the monkey puzzle is known worldwide. The species is in Endangered due to threats such as fire and logging facing its wild populations, but its iconic status has increased conservation actions to protect it from extinction. It is also popular in horticultural collections.
Bornean Ironwood – Eusideroxylon zwageri
Native to Borneo, the ironwood is synonymous with the Dayak tribe and their culture. This species is seen as a protectress, a ‘gift from the creator’ to the people and is used by shamans for medicinal purposes and night rituals. However, Dayak elders are concerned that its increasing scarcity is putting traditional carving under threat as the wood is hard to find. The Global Trees Campaign is helping villagers to cultivate threatened species, including Bornean ironwood.
Malagasy Baobabs – Adansonia spp.
Baobabs are known as upside down trees and are instantly recognisable with their swollen trunks and crown of small branches. Six of the eight species of baobabs are found only in Madagascar and they symbolise the islands unique diversity. The flowers of the baobab are pollinated by local fruit bats and serve as an essential food source for the bats over winter. The Global Trees Campaign is supporting Madagasikara Voakajy to work with local communities to protect these important species.