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

One third of the world's oaks at risk of extinction

One-third of the world's oaks at risk of extinction, according to new BGCI report

An estimated 31% of the world's oak species are threatened with extinction according to data compiled in a new report by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), The Morton Arboretum and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Tree Specialist Group.
Learn more

Maples Turning Red

The Red List of Acer: revised and extended, published in September 2020 by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), gives the conservation status of all 158 maple or Acer species.
Learn more

A case for botanical gardens to lead in global plant crisis

Botanical gardens have the skills and knowledge, facilities, plant collections, and access to the public required to advance plant conservation.
Learn more

Projects on Conservation Prioritisation


Global Tree Assessment

The Global Tree Assessment (GTA) is assessing the conservation status of every known tree species.
Learn more

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.
Learn more

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