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Editor's Picks

Emory oak near Young, Arizona © Nanebah Lyndon
Emory oak acorns are a critically important commodity for...
Website Editor | Feb 12, 2021
Ecological Landscape Alliance
Murphy Westwood and Tim Boland presented on oak diversity...
Website Editor | Feb 12, 2021
Keiko Tokunaga's Illustrated Fagaceae
Shaun Haddock reviews Keiko Tokunaga's latest book.
Shaun Haddock | Feb 09, 2021

Plant Focus

Quercus texana New Madrid acorn
Disentangling the cultivar published as Quercus texana ‘New Madrid’

Oak-Focused Seminars Online

Murphy Westwood and Tim Boland, members of the IOS's Oak Conservation and Research Committee, recently presented back-to-back seminars for a webinar series sponsored by the Ecological Landscape Alliance and American Public Gardens Association. In them they discuss the diversity and ecology of oaks, the main threats they are facing, and how endangered oak species can be saved from extinction. The videos have been made available online and are well worth watching. Click on the images below to access them:

The American Oaks – Diversity, Ecology, and Identification

Join Tim Boland to understand the great diversity of oaks found throughout North America and locally in New England. Tim paints a picture of the genus Quercus, including its fascinating evolutionary history and challenges posed by climate change. He illuminates the deep connection oaks have to humanity across the world, and explains why they are widely considered to be the ecological glue that holds plant communities together. Familiarity with oaks is vital for anyone looking to garden for biodiversity. Tim shows us how to identify most of the twelve species native to New England and offers guidance on species selection, installation, and maintenance for establishing oak trees in our managed landscapes.

 

 

Oak Red-List Project – Main Threats to Oaks and Saving Oaks from Extinction

Oaks are sometimes referred to as the “tree of life” for providing food and shelter for a multitude of wildlife species. Murphy Westwood, director of global tree conservation for The Morton Arboretum in Illinois, refers to oaks as the “kingpins in the forest.” But today oaks are in trouble. Razed to make way for crops, pastureland, and development, and ravaged by fire suppression, climate change, diseases, and pests, this country’s oak forests are a fraction of what they once were, and those that remain are declining rapidly. In a recent analysis, Morton Arboretum scientists found that 28 of the nation’s 91 native oaks—or more than 30 percent—are of conservation concern. That percentage of at-risk species in one genus, Westwood says, “is seriously worrying.” Notably, oaks’ longevity and slow growth rates make them particularly susceptible to the effects of a rapidly changing climate. In this presentation, Dr. Westwood discusses the economic, ecological, and cultural value of oaks, and explains the threats each species faces and the conservation efforts underway to save them, including the establishment of the Global Conservation Consortium for Oak, a recent global initiative to coordinate conservation efforts across sectors and regions to ensure no oak species goes extinct.