Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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The Red List of Betulaceae

In BGCI’s 2014 publication “The Red List of Betulaceae”, 240 taxa of the family Betulaceae were assessed from six genera; Alnus, Betula, Carpinus, Corylus, Ostrya and Ostryopsis. Sixteen are considered threatened, while about one third of the taxa were considered Data Deficient. This highlights the lack of information on little known species, mainly from less studied parts of the world. It also underlines the need for further field research to determine the distribution, population status and threats facing the lesser known taxa in this family. The Betulaceae family include many commercially important species timber and nut species.

In the cold-temperate Northern Hemisphere forests and tundra, in formerly glaciated areas, there are few threatened Betulaceae species. However, in the warm-temperate to tropical forests and relicts of the Arcto-Tertiary forests rare and threatened species can be found, largely in the refugia on low latitude mountain ranges in Japan, Korea, south China and Taiwan, the Caucasus/Caspian region, and southeastern North America.

As an immediate priority, it is important that all threatened taxa are represented in well-managed ex situ collections as an insurance policy for the future and in support of Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. At the same time habitat protection and restoration should be reviewed and mechanisms put in place for local people to be involved in and benefit from the in situ conservation and management of these important species.

BGCI has conducted an analysis of ex situ collections of Betulaceae taxa using information held in our PlantSearch database. This survey has allowed us to identify which threatened taxa are absent from ex situ collections and should be prioritised for future ex situ conservation programmes. More information on this ex situ survey can be found here.

 

Resources

A copy of the Red List of Betulaceae is available to download here.