Celebrating 20 years of saving trees!

Posted on by Kirsty Shaw


The Global Trees Campaign (GTC) was launched in 1999 to take action for the world’s most threatened tree species, following the publication of The World List of Threatened Trees (Oldfield, et al. 1998).

Over the past 20 years, our ability to identify conservation priorities, as well as deliver targeted conservation action where it is most needed, have improved greatly.

  • The Global Tree Specialist Group are working to deliver the Global Tree Assessment which will ensure conservation assessments are in place for all of the world’s tree species by the end of 2020 to guide conservation action.
  • Our portfolio of practical conservation projects has delivered conservation for more than 570 of the world’s rare and threatened trees.

GTC is run by a small team based in the UK, US, China, Taiwan and Kenya, and we work with a broad network of partners across the world. We would like to say a big thank you to all of our funders and partners, without which we could not achieve this important work, by sharing some of our highlights from the past twenty years!

Conservation in China

China is GTC’s biggest country programme. Here is Dave Gill (ex-GTC) with our partners from the Guangxi Institute of Botany inspecting Abies ziyuanensis germination rates:

And GTC’s Xiangying Wen with Magnolia patungensis at Xingdoushan National Nature Reserve:

Individuals of the charismatic Magnolia omeinsis were being taken from their natural populations in China, so GTC worked with local partner Sichuan Provincial Institute of Natural Resource Sciences to set up a sustainable cultivation programme.

Global Red List Assessments

In 2019, the Global Tree Assessment team and the Global Tree Specialist Group have published 8,284 tree assessments on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. That’s more than any year previously! (Look how happy they are!)

Recognising this huge achievement, Sara Oldfield and Malin Rivers, Co-Chair and Secretary of the Global Tree Specialist Group, were recognised at the IUCN Species Survival Commission leaders meeting in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Practical conservation

In Saint Lucia, GTC worked with Saint Lucia Forest Department to launch a sustainable harvesting project for the Lansan Tree, as shown in the image below.

Lansan tree and resin (credit: Jenny Daltry)

In GTC’s largest planting project to date, we planted more than 700,000 Critically Endangered Mulanje Cedar seedlings to restore populations on Mulanje Mountain in Malawi, working with the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi and more than 1,000 people living around the base of the mountain.

Kazembe nursery group

The GTC team in action

The GTC team of practical project managers all enjoy going out in the field to support these projects. Here’s Noelia Alvarez in the field in Latin America (top left), Joachim Gratzfeld surveying a Betula megrelica population in Georgia (top right), Georgina Magin in Kunming (centre), Kirsty Shaw pleased to find some natural regeneration of Mulanje Cedar in Malawi (bottom left) and Jean Linksy out seed collecting in Taiwan (bottom right).

Noellia Alvarez, Geogrina Magin, Kirsty Shaw, Joachim Gratzfeld and Jean Linsky

Even our newest GTC recruits, Dan Crowley, Fred Pilkington, Alicky Davey and Alex Hudson (clockwise from top left) are already out and about getting to know our project partners!

Dan Cowley, Fred Pilkington, Alicky Davey and Alex Hudson in the field
Yes, we are a bunch of tree huggers, but we think they’re worth a hug or two! (Here’s Murphy Westwood from The Morton Arboretum).

A big thanks!

Thanks from all of us to all our supporters and partners over the past 20 years! (See more of our work pictures on Facebook. We look forward to continuing to work with you to secure a future for the world’s most threatened tree species during 2020, for another 20 years and more!

Written by Kirsty Shaw

Kirsty is a Head of Ecological Restoration and Tree Conservation at Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), working on the Global Trees Campaign and botanic garden led forest restoration initiatives in Africa.

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