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Researchers take a break. Credit: Hieu Nguyen/Center for Plant Conservation Vietnam.

New threatened tree populations discovered in Vietnam

Posted on: 21.08.14 (Last edited) 21 August 2014

Surveys carried out by the Center for Plant Conservation Vietnam (CPCV) have identified new populations of a number of threatened species including the Critically Endangered Magnolia grandis.

The new findings are the result of over two weeks of fieldwork in forests surrounding the villages of Phieng Luong and Phieng Phoc in northern Vietnam.

Among a number of exciting new findings, a major highlight was the discovery of three Magnolia grandis trees and five small saplings of Magnolia coriacea. Until recently these species were thought to be restricted to small pockets of forest in southern China.

Other important findings include the discovery of a new population of the Endangered Vietnamese golden cypress – a species that first became known to science just 15 years ago. In total, 20 magnolia and five conifer species were found in this latest round of surveys.

Magnolia grandis. Credit: Jackson Xu/FFI.

Only 50 Magnolia grandis trees are known to exist in the wild, making it one of the world's rarest trees. Credit: Jackson Xu/FFI.

The newly-discovered individuals may well play a vital role in the survival of these highly threatened species. Community conservation teams will be working in collaboration with CPCV to monitor the trees and collect seeds to support tree planting in the future.

In the meantime, the project (which is jointly run by CPCV, Fauna & Flora International and the local Forestry Department) is making headway on a number of other fronts.

Seeds have been collected from several species, while 50 Vietnamese golden cypresses and 200 Magnolia citrata (a rare tree yet to be assessed by the IUCN Red List) have been planted into nearby forest.

Hieu Nguyen, Vice Director of CPCV commended the recent progress made by the team: “Great results are a product of great collaboration and trust. This project definitely demonstrates those qualities.”

As it progresses, the project will continue to work with community conservation teams and the Forestry Department to protect and restore these species. The ultimate aim is to ensure interventions for threatened trees are integrated into the ongoing work of the Forestry Department.

To learn more about these fascinating species, visit the Global Trees Campaign.

Written by
David Gill

Dave joined Fauna & Flora International (FFI) as Programme Officer in the Conservation Science team in 2012. He has a BSc in Zoology and a MSc in Conservation Science. Before joining FFI, he gained much of his experience in the tropics, working on a range of conservation projects - from investigating the diversity of the amphibians found in Paraguay’s San Rafael National Park to working with local communities in Equatorial Guinea to study the causes and effects of subsistence and commercial hunting. In his current role, Dave provides support for a number of projects run by the Global Trees Campaign – a partnership between FFI and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

Other posts by David Gill

Great results are a product of great collaboration and trust. This project definitely demonstrates those qualities.

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