348 of the world’s 722 conifers are currently listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as being of conservation concern. Principal threats include logging, uncontrolled forest fires, open-cast mining, and conversion of forests to pasture and arable land.
The role of the International Conifer Conservation Programme
The International Conifer Conservation Programme, established in 1991, combines taxonomic, conservation, genetic and horticultural research with international capacity building for conifer conservation.
- Field surveys in Chile, the Caribbean, New Caledonia, SE Asia and China.
- Assessing the conservation status of threatened conifers and their associated species using current IUCN guidelines and the IUCN’s Conifer Action Plan.
- Applied research to support restoration and conservation of threatened conifers and selected associated species. Examples include research into the germination of recalcitrant species such as Prumnopitys andina and the genetic diversity of New Caledonian Araucarias.
- Establishing a network of in-situ and ex-situ sites to protect threatened conifers and their associated species in Chile, the UK and Ireland. Visit the Chile webpage for more information about work in Chile.
- Undertaking taxonomic research in poorly documented conifer groups eg Podocarpaceae