How conservation projects at Westonbirt Arboretum are helping to protect trees from extinction – Gloucestershire film & culture

Global issues like habitat loss, over-exploitation and climate change mean that more than 100 of the fascinating tree species that grow at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum are threatened with extinction in the wild.

SoGlos spoke to expert plant conservationist, Dan Crowley, to find out how the arboretum is contributing to vital tree conservation efforts across the world – and how Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership donations are supporting these invaluable projects.


About the expert – Dan Crowley from Botanic Gardens Conservation International

An expert in dendrology and plant conservation, Dan Crowley works for Botanic Gardens Conservation International – supporting Gloucestershire’s global tree garden, Westonbirt Arboretum, to develop its role in global tree conservation as part of his job.

Dan works closely with Forestry England and the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum – a charity which funds conservation, development and maintenance at the arboretum to protect its botanical specimens and help it to thrive for generations to come.

Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum offers a host of benefits to its supporters – including free entry to the attraction for a whole year – through its annual membership scheme, which generates funds to support new and ongoing conservation projects at the arboretum.

For more information and to become a member, visit fowa.org.uk.


Can you tell us a bit about your role at Westonbirt Arboretum?

I work for Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), which is the largest plant conservation network in the world, consisting of 500 botanic gardens in more than 100 countries. Our headquarters are at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and we have offices at other botanic gardens in global plant diversity hotspots.

My role is to manage a suite of Global Conservation Consortia – networks of specialists working on conserving highly threatened plant groups – and is hosted by Westonbirt, in partnership with the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and Forestry England. As well as working with colleagues around the world, I am working with Westonbirt colleagues to further develop the arboretum’s role in global tree conservation.


Currently, what are the main threats to trees?

Last year, BGCI published the State of the World’s Trees report, that states that one in three tree species is threatened with extinction in the wild. Globally, the greatest threats include habitat loss from agriculture and grazing, followed by over-exploitation from logging and harvesting. Climate change and extreme weather provide further threats, and as the temperature and weather of the world changes, many trees risk losing areas of suitable habitat.

In partnership with Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum | fowa.org.uk

By Annabel Lammas

© SoGlos
Tuesday 17 May 2022

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