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Quantifying the conservation value of living collections

We are assessing whether important seed and living collections have sufficiently sampled the wild diversity of tree species we are trying to protect. 

Quantifying the conservation value of living collections
Kew Millennium Seedbank


Using case studies, and developing new computational tools, we are working to quantify the "conservation value" of our living collections. The aim of this project is to help us to determine whether we are conserving enough trees of a given species, and to identify where to sample next to get the most value for our effort in terms of genetic diversity. The first case study, in partnership with the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, focuses on the is European ash.  We will also be analyzing the conservation value various collections of living plants at The Morton Arboretum, which has a long history of collecting plants from all over the world, and conserving them to prevent extinction.  Along with this project we will also develop a set of software tools that other gardens can use to plan their collections to ensure we are conserving the right population size, and the best representation of the genetics of the species.

Funding sources

The Morton Arboretum

Project status