Gap analyses of ex situ collections and in situ conservation needs for North American oak species

Locating, prioritizing, and proposing amendments to spatial and genetic gaps within ex-situ collections of native U.S. oaks, towards the continued security of each species.

Oak seedlings growing in The Morton Arboretum greenhouses.


Habitat destruction, climate change, and pests and diseases have significantly altered natural systems throughout the United States, greatly affecting one of our most ecologically and economically valuable tree groups: oaks (genus Quercus). Additional safeguarding of this group is needed because oak acorns do not survive under the conditions of a conventional seed bank (low temperature and humidity). Developing  ex-situ (cultivated) living collections that are fully representative of each species’ natural range is essential to capture the majority of oak genetic diversity. Using spatial and statistical analyses of botanical garden collections of threatened oak species, as well as gathering information on current conservation efforts, we are developing a complete understanding of any gaps and needs for protecting threatened US oaks. This gap analysis will be used to determine priority species and populations for implementing highest impact conservation actions.

Funding Sources

United States Forest Service

Project Status