Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Advancing the Conservation, Study, and Cultivation of the Flora of Asia

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Traveling Endangered Tree Exhibit


We depend on plants for food, wood for fuel and shelter, a wide variety of products, and for beauty and solace.  Fossilized plants in the form of coal and oil power our society and nearly half of all medicines in current use are based on substances derived from plants.  But most importantly, plants are necessary for the oxygen in the very air we breathe.

While it may appear as though there is an abundance of plant life surrounding us, and indeed there is, trees and plants around the world are perishing.  Estimates of forest loss varies by geographic location, but there is no doubt that all of our forest ecosystems, and the unique plant and animal life in these ecosystems, are in severe danger.  

While the total number of tree and plant species at risk is not exactly clear, the estimates that exist are alarming.  A study in 2010 by the IUCN, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Natural History Museum, London estimated that one in five, or 20% of the world’s plant species are dangerously rare or threatened with extinction.  And the situation is just as dire for trees – according to the World List of Threatened Trees, 10% of all known tree species are endangered as well.  Current documented extinction rates are nearly 1,000 times higher than the rate at which species have been naturally going extinct for the past 65 million years.

The trees under threat today offer immeasurable benefits and the extinction of a plant species have ripple effects on other species.  Learning more about endangered trees and their conservation and taking action to protect them is critically important.

In an effort to help educate the public, we are displaying the traveling exhibit Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat from the Morton Arboretum.  This exhibit takes a compelling look at various threatened and endangered trees and includes 17 displays, located throughout the garden, each highlighting a different endangered plant.  By making people aware of these plants, our hope is that they will better protect them.

The exhibit will be in the garden between now and early May 2014 before moving onto another conservation minded organization in the USA.  To date, this exhibit has been in a number of famed public gardens and Universities such as, Brookgreen Gardens, Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, Holden Arboretum, ForMar Arboretum, The Gardens at Southern Illinois University and the University of Guelph Arboretum to name a few.