Trees Will Adapt, Migrate or Die

Barbara Crane, US Forest Service, National Forest System (SePPCon 2016)

Barbara Crane, USFS, describes special considerations for trees.  Because the are long-lived, they cannot respond quickly to multiple threats from pathogens, fire, drought and climate change. Rates of historic migration of 300 to 1200 ft/yr cannot keep up with the rate of changing climate. Understanding genetic variation related to environment and response to change is necessary to conserve forest diversity. For the USFS Southern Region, which is home to 140 tree species, we developed a Genetic Risk Assessment System and identified the top 10 species at risk from climate change. Barbara gives examples of actions with several species and emphasizes that collecting from southern edge of a species range may capture valuable unique genes.

This work was presented at the Southeast Partners in Plant Conservation (SePPCon) 2016 Meeting. Learn more about SePPCon here.

Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Emily E. D. Coffey, Ph.D., Atlanta Botanical Garden

Torreya taxifolia, known as the Florida Torreya, is one of the rarest conifers in the world. Once found as a canopy tree, Torreya is an evergreen dioecious tree endemic to a narrow range of bluffs and ravines adjacent to the Apalachicola River in northwest Florida and extreme southwest Georgia. In the mid-Twentieth Century, this species suffered a catastrophic decline as all reproductive age trees died from a disease (Fusarium torrayae) that remained unknown until very recently. In the decades that followed, this species did not recover. What remains is a population approximately 0.22% of its original size, which is subjected to changes in hydrology, forest structure, heavy browsing by deer, loss of reproduction capability, as well as dieback from fungal disease. Atlanta Botanical Garden’s dedication and efforts to protect Torreya has furthered understanding of its ecology and life cycle as well as the decline of this once majestic species. We present the new in-situ and ex-situ seed experiment we are conducting at ABG as part of the recovery effort for this species.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018