A Global Conservation Consortium for Acer

The overriding aim of the Global Conservation Consortium for Acer is to ensure that no wild species of Acer becomes extinct.

  • Status of project

    Ongoing
  • Region

    Global
  • Topic

    Plant Conservation

Background

BGCI is promoting the concept of a cost-efficient, rational, botanic garden-centred global system for the conservation and management of plant diversity. This system will aim to collect, conserve, characterise and cultivate samples from all of the world’s rare and threatened plants as an insurance policy against their extinction in the wild and as a source of plant material for human innovation, adaptation and resilience.

BGCI is establishing a series of consortia with specialist knowledge of particular genera that are technically challenging to conserve and manage. In alignment with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), these consortia will deploy their unique sets of skills for effective conservation of these genera to prevent species extinctions.

Comprising over 130 species, maples (from the genus Acer) form one of the largest tree genera in the northern hemisphere. Of both economic and cultural significance, many species are valued for their timber and the sugar maples of North America are the source of maple syrup. Hundreds of horticultural selections, derived from numerous species, are grown in gardens around the world for their ornamental qualities.

Though loved by many, a number of these iconic plants are at risk of going extinct. In 2009, The Red List of Maples reported that a quarter of the world’s maples were threatened with extinction in the wild. Since then new threats have emerged, new species have been described and many taxonomic changes have been made within the genus. In light of this, an extended and revised Red List of Maples is now being produced. Preliminary results estimate that around 30% of maples are threatened in the wild, and more than a third of these are not under any conservation actions in the field.

A Global Conservation Consortium for Acer

To address these threats, the Global Conservation Consortium for Acer (GCCA) has been established to ensure that no wild species of Acer becomes extinct. The GCCA brings together the world’s maple experts, conservationists and the botanic garden community to achieve the following objectives:

  • Establish and foster a network of experts
  • Identify and prioritise species of greatest conservation concern
  • Establish and manage coordinated ex situ collections of high conservation value
  • Undertake and facilitate applied research (e.g. conservation biology, population genetics, population structure, taxonomy)
  • Ensure that threatened species are conserved in situ
  • Build capacity to empower and mobilise in-country partners in diversity centers
  • Increase public awareness and engagement.

For more information about the GCCA please contact Dan Crowley.