The Morton Arboretum Receives Grant of Nearly $250,000 to Strengthen Tree Collections

Malus 'Adams' (Adams Crabapple) from The Morton Arboretum collection
Malus 'Adams' (Adams Crabapple)
November 19, 2018

The Morton Arboretum has received a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to evaluate four of its most significant tree collections and to identify opportunities to sustain and strengthen their conservation value for the future.

Researchers will document the conservation value of four of the Arboretum’s priority collections: crabapple (Malus), oak (Quercus), elm (Ulmus), and linden (Tilia). The Morton Arboretum has significant representation of these trees, 2,281 in total. Determining the conservation value of each collection will entail evaluating several criteria including diversity of species, resilience to climate change and disease, and horticultural and visitor interest.

Arboretum researchers will apply data-driven methods to document and evaluate the biodiversity of the tree collections, looking at genetics, information from the Arboretum’s herbaria, climate and geographic models, lists of cultivars, and threatened species. From this information, management plans will be formulated, and future curatorial plans will be created.  

Botanic gardens play a key role in conserving tree biodiversity with their living tree collections. Through this research and resulting recommendations, The Morton Arboretum and its partners will provide tools to help other gardens participate more effectively in tree conservation, as a coordinated global effort is needed to take on this important task. This research will be shared with a variety of stakeholders, including not only other botanic gardens and arboreta, but seed banks, researchers, horticulturists, tree breeders, foresters, conservationists, restorationists, and Arboretum visitors.

The grant is in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Ill., and the Montgomery Botanical Center, Coral Gables, Fla. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number MA-30-18-0273-18.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research to help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.