Preserving Endangered Trees For Future Generations

Sabriga Turgon

Because once they’re gone…
1) Alerce Kevin Schafer Photography ©, 2) Fadang Western Pacific Tropical Research

Trees are tenderness. What culture does not have an ode praising the trees that are so intimately woven into their traditions and rituals?

Trees are love, soaking up our tears, listening to our dreams, and giving wings to inspiration when we gaze up at their sky-touching majesty.

Preserving endangered or threatened tree species is our gift of love to future generations and to the traditions that make us unique people.

As climate change increases the frequency and ferocity of fires or insect infestations, trees need our human TLC to guarantee their survival by managing forests, fighting diseases, and collecting seeds. Fortunately for all of us, organizations, agencies, and governments around the earth are combining their resources to preserve our arboreal ones.

Tree Heroes

If you’re looking for a leader in tree preservation, look no further than the Global Trees Campaign.

This amazing organization works in fifteen countries on four continents. From Cuba to Ethiopia to Eurasia to Cambodia, their projects preserve seeds, train future conservationists, and work to create sustainable native projects.

In 2012, the US Navy began working with the University of Guam and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to preserve the Fadang (Cycas micronesica), a threatened tree species vital to the traditions of Guam’s indigenous people.

According to the Western Pacific Regional Resource Center, the Fadang is part of the cycad plant group, of which there are approximately 300 species.

As a group, cycads are the most threatened in the world. Until about ten years ago, Fadang was Guam’s most prolific tree. But in the past decade, insect infestations have threatened its existence.

By combining knowledge, power, and science, this project shows how diverse agencies can work together, creating positive environmental change.

Chile’s Alerce tree’s majesty echoes that of its northern cousin, the Giant Sequoia. The Alerce is the second-oldest living species—one of the trees was reported in 1993 to have an age of 3,620 years. The Alerce was declared a National Monument in Chile in the 1970’s, but despite international trade laws and administrative best efforts, the mighty tree hit the endangered list and struggles to survive.

Chile honors its longest living citizen by protecting the prized forests of Los Alerces National Park.

In the United States, endangered or threatened trees are the focus of a multitude of state and national agencies.

As of February, 2016, the list of these vulnerable species numbers over 500. Collaborations of national, state, and local governments work to document the needs and status of the threatened or endangered trees, collect their seeds for future plantings, and maintain native forests where they still exist.

“No man is an island,” John Donne famously said. Neither is any tree or country.

Our collective efforts, our sustained curiosity, and our concerted study may be what keeps the trees of our poems and stories alive for our grandchildren to love them, too.

Your contribution—one tree at a time—brings us another step closer to that goal.

What if we measured wealth by the number of trees we planted?

Increase your riches, plant a tree today!

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Helping us get along with each other, the earth, and our precarious future. I write about the beautiful strangeness of life, women & kids, the planet's survival, and reflections from my 60s And I'll help you write your book.

Los Angeles, CA

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