SCIENCE & conservation

Science and conservation at The Morton ArboretumCan you imagine a world without trees? Neither can we. Firmly rooted in science and splendor The Morton Arboretum stands tall as the champion of trees, now and for future generations.
The Arboretum’s mission—to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world—has never been more important. The world around us is not as green as it used to be.

Since the Arboretum’s beginning in 1922, practical, scientific research has been a cornerstone activity. Here, we strive to understand how to grow healthier trees and to create healthy tree communities all over the world so the planet can thrive.

To learn how research at The Morton Arboretum is building a truly green legacy and improving tree communities for you and future generations, download and explore a summary of its research and conservation projects

PDF iconScience and Conservation Project and Publication Summary 2014 (PDF)

Center for Tree Science

The Morton Arboretum is establishing the Center for Tree Science to facilitate collaboration, to integrate the many dimensions of tree science research, and to enable researchers to more efficiently address important research questions. LEARN MORE


The Morton Arboretum has been a leader in conservation for decades. Its efforts include international partnerships to conserve endangered species of trees in Arboretum and public garden collections; restoring more than half its 1,700 acres as natural woodlands, prairies and wetlands; and outreach programs that help municipalities, tree professionals, and homeowners care for the urban forest. LEARN MORE 


The Morton Arboretum’s Herbarium houses more than 170,000 dried plant specimens and 19,000 lichens, many from Illinois and Missouri. It is the third largest arboretum herbarium in North America. The primary emphasis of the herbarium collection is woody plants, both cultivated and spontaneous. LEARN MORE

Regional Trees Initiative

The Morton Arboretum is leading the development and implementation of the Regional Trees Initiative, a strategy to improve the vitality and sustainability of the region's trees. LEARN MORE

Research programs

The Morton Arboretum’s research programs all support its basic mission: to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Though our scientists collaborate often across disciplines with colleagues here and around the world, the Arboretum’s research programs fall under these general topics:

Dynamics of Forested Ecosystems

Genetics and Biodiversity

Plant Community Ecology and Conservation Biology

Tree Care and Improvement

Urban Forests and Ecosystems Services

Restoration Ecology and Natural Resource Management

Scientists and staff

The Morton Arboretum’s scientists are distinguished researchers in fields related to the biology, planting, care and conservation of trees. Working in collaboration with research associates at the Arboretum and around the world, they present their findings to public and professional audiences, as well as in conferences and prestigious scientific journals. Arborists, horticulturists, landscape designers, natural lands stewards, public officials, and home gardeners all benefit from their knowledge and up-to-the-minute expertise. LEARN MORE