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Conservation value in four genera at The Morton Arboretum

We are calculating the conservation value, according to different goals, of four genera collections at The Morton Arboretum (lindens, crabapples, oaks, and elms), and developing plans to manage that value in the future.

Conservation value in four genera at The Morton Arboretum
Ulmus (elm) collection at The Morton Arboretum, one of the genera of focus of this grant.


The Morton Arboretum science and curation staff will document and manage the conservation value of four of its highest priority collections: oak, crabapple, elm, and linden. These four collections are all Plant Collections Network accredited and reflect different areas of emphasis for our mission.  We focus on five criteria that stem from the Arboretum's mission: phylogenetic, environmental, genetic and horticultural diversity, and endangerment status. These criteria are partly overlapping but sometimes in conflict and until this project it was not clear how to balance the different goals.  We will apply data-driven methodology to quantify the conservation value of the four collections, containing 2,281 trees. Then we will work to update management, curation and collection plans to sustain and strengthen that value for the future.  Also, by quantifying conservation value we aim to make it easier for researchers and the public to access, study, and learn from the arboretum's collections. We will use several channels, including a partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International, to showcase the results of this project to benefit of researchers and other stakeholders including at other botanic gardens and seed banks.

Funding sources

IMLS Museums for America grant MA-30-18-0273-18, The Morton Arboretum

Project status