Conservation Prioritisation

At BGCI, we work on conservation prioritisation by measuring extinction risk through red list assessments.

BGCI works to conserve plant diversity worldwide, but with over 400,000 known plant species globally, which species are most in need of conservation action? How do plant conservationists effectively prioritise conservation action to ensure that limited resources are distributed to where they are most needed?

Estimates indicate that as many as one in five plant species are threatened with extinction, due to a range of threats to plants and their habitats (habitat loss, overexploitation, disease, pollution, climate change, etc.). To effectively conserve plant diversity worldwide, we need tools and available information to be able to prioritise which plants to focus our conservation action on.

At BGCI, we work on conservation prioritisation by measuring extinction risk through red list assessments. Plant red list assessments determine the conservation status of plants in the wild by predicting the probability of extinction within a specific time period. In addition, we use information from the collections of plants being conserved in botanic gardens, arboreta and seed banks around the world to carry out ex situ surveys . These surveys identify species which are currently found in these institutions and those species not currently being conserved ex situ.

Conservation prioritisation is complex, and needs to balance a range factors, including extinction risk, but also cost, chance of success and many other factors. However, both red list assessments and ex situ surveys are used for prioritisation of conservation action to make better-informed conservation decisions.

News on Conservation Prioritisation

1954 New Tree Assessments on the IUCN Red List

On Thursday 9th July, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was updated to include an additional 1,954 tree species. This is the penultimate update to the IUCN Red in 2020 and brings the total of tree assessments on the IUCN Red List to 23,491 or 39% of tree diversity.
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Collaborative project reveals high threat for Malagasy dry forest trees

The Red List of Dry Forest Trees of Madagascar reveals that more than half of the dry forest tree species in Madagascar are threatened with extinction.
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Regional Firsts for Trees on the IUCN Red List

The success of The Global Tree Assessment continues with the most recent IUCN Red List update (March 2020) with the publication of more than 1,500 conservation assessments for trees.
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Projects on Conservation Prioritisation


Global Tree Assessment

The Global Tree Assessment (GTA) aims to assess the conservation status of every known tree species by the year 2020.
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Assessing Timber Species

Over five years (2016-2021), BGCI will produce IUCN Red List assessments for over 1,500 timber tree species. This work also contributes to BGCI’s Global Tree Assessment.
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Conservation Prioritisation E-Learning Modules

  • Global Seed Conservation Challenge Learning Modules

    Conservation Prioritisation, Seed Conservation, Policy and Advocacy / E-learning module / English, Spanish, French, Chinese
  • Red List Learning Modules

    Tree Conservation, Conservation Prioritisation / E-learning module, Video / English, Spanish, French, Chinese