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2019 Tree Conservation Needs Assessment

Executive Summary

This report is an analysis of the results of a 2019 Tree Conservation Needs Assessment (click here for full report), conducted by ArbNet, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and with funding from a grant from Fondation Franklinia. The assessment consisted of a series of survey questions focused around tree conservation. The survey was distributed to a wide range of tree-focused professionals across multiple sectors around the world. The objective of the survey was to obtain a better understanding of what the global community of arboreta and tree experts is currently doing to advance tree conservation efforts and to identify critical gaps and needs. ArbNet will use the results of this analysis to guide the development of resources, programs, and funding opportunities that address the needs of our community to most effectively support global tree conservation efforts.

Survey responses were categorized by sector based on the type of institution the respondent worked in. Responses were also designated as a biodiversity hotspot if the respondent institution was in or near (within ~ 200 miles) a biodiversity hotspot as defined by Conservation International. Responses were also categorized by the country’s level of economic development based on the definitions outlined by the World Bank 2020 and designated either High-Income Economy (HIE) or Non-HIE, which included low-income, lower-middle income, and upper-middle income economies.

Major findings:

  • A total of 591 respondents from 46 countries completed the needs assessment (77% were from the U.S.).
  • 56% of responses were from biodiversity hotspots, 44% non-biodiversity hotspots; 92% of responses from HIE countries, 8% Non-HIE countries.
  • Nearly all respondents (>97%) are currently participating in tree conservation activities of some sort.
  • The top three most commonly reported activities that respondents are already doing are 1) providing public awareness or education, 2) managing or restoring habitat, and 3) protecting land or habitat.
  • The activities that respondents would like to do more of are 1) conduct climate change research or niche modeling, 2) perform population reinforcement, reintroductions or translocations, and 3) conduct tree species threat assessments.
  • The major obstacles to engaging in tree conservation activities are a lack of funding, staff and time. Respondents from Non-HIE countries reported that a lack of collaboration opportunities was a major obstacle.
  • The most helpful resources to support conservation activities are 1) collaborative partnerships, 2) funding, and 3) guidelines/case-studies.
  • The botanic garden sector (including arboreta) is the most commonly reported type of collaborator on tree conservation activities.
  • Local communities and protected land managers (public lands) are the stakeholder groups that respondents most frequently engage in tree conservation activities.


This report provides a synthesis of the needs assessment results. For each question, we compiled relevant resources and helpful links that provide further information on that topic to address the identified needs. The results of this assessment will be used to create original resources that support the needs of our community to build conservation capacity at arboreta and other tree-focused institutions around the world.


We encourage those who did not participate in this assessment, to contribute their thoughts and provide additional insights on the questions below by emailing Amy Byrne, Global Tree Conservation Assistant (