Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.

Enhancing Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa


BGCI is leading a project to support the conservation of threatened tree species and forest restoration in Africa. The project will contribute towards the aims of the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens, enhance the role of African botanic gardens in forest restoration and promote the use of indigenous species.


Using indigenous species, including threatened species, in forest restoration initiatives can bring added benefits such as supporting conservation efforts, benefiting biodiversity and adding socioeconomic value by supplying food and medicine to local communities. Restoration projects also have the potential to restore water supply, a vital need in many areas.

At present the majority of tree planting in Africa focuses on non native species.  This project aims to promote the benefits of incorporating indigenous species into planting schemes to a wide audience to ensure these added benefits are not overlooked. The following activities will be carried out:






Practical forest restoration

Activities will be supported at Brackenhurst Botanic Garden in Kenya and at Tooro Botanical Gardens in Uganda. Both gardens have experience undertaking forest restoration and during the three year project time frame, their activities will be extended and closely monitored. Training and education programmes will be developed at these pilot sites and guidelines will be produced to replicate forest restoration projects across Africa.  Propagation protocols for high performing indigenous tree species will be made widely available. 



Survey of existing native tree collections

A survey of native tree species held in ex situ collections of botanic gardens and arboreta throughout Africa and their experiences undertaking forest restoration will be carried out. The survey will:

  • Promote the conservation work of botanic gardens in Africa
  • Identify which threatened species are currently lacking from ex situ collections, highlight them as priority species for conservation concern and make recommendations for their conservation
  • Provide the basis for developing further forest restoration projects with other botanic gardens across Africa






Developing partnerships

Throughout the project we have been engaging with the private sector, NGOs and governments to promote the use of indigenous species, including threatened species and species of socioeconomic value, in planting schemes, particularly in degraded ecosystems such as logged forests.

In February 2013 a seminar was held in London, UK, to introduce the project to a number of organisations involved in tree planting and forest restoration in Africa. The seminar highlighted opportunities for involving indigenous species in restoration projects and demonstrated the value of involving African botanic gardens in forest restoration projects. To read more about the seminar, click here.

In July 2013 BGCI held a workshop in Uganda to develop further partnerships for forest restoration in East Africa. The workshop brought together botanic gardens, NGOs, government and private sector representatives mainly from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. To read more about the workshop and access the workshop report, click here

In August 2014, a local workshop was held at Tooro Botanical Garden, that brought together stakeholders involved in forest management and restoration in the Tooro Kingdom. Communities living near to the project restoration sites, involved in planting and management, talked about their experiences, and attendees visited the Tooro Botanical Garden arboretum site to learn about the benefits of indigenous species. 


BGCI continues to build contacts and develop joint project proposals for expanding botanic-garden led forest restoration activities across Africa. 

To find out more about this project, request a copy of the workshop report, or find out how you can be involved in the project please contact

If you are from a botanic garden outside of Africa looking to develop partnerships with botanic gardens in Africa, for example through provision of training, please get in touch.

We are also keen to hear from private companies and NGOs involved in, or looking to invest in, forest restoration and tree planting in Africa.

BGCI is very grateful to the Ashden Trust for supporting this project.


Photo credits: Top and middle, Barney Wilczak