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Spare a thought for rare magnolias in the wild

Posted on: 01.04.09 (Last edited) 30 October 2010

FFI tree experts warn that nearly half of all magnolias are threatened with extinction.

Magnolias are blooming in British gardens but experts from the Global Trees Campaign – a joint partnership between FFI and Botanic Gardens Conservation International – today warn that nearly HALF of the world’s magnolia species are now threatened with extinction.

A massive 112 of the 245 known species of wild magnolia around the world are dying out. These ancient plants, which evolved before bees appeared, are disappearing due to habitat loss and over-exploitation for timber and traditional medicine.

About two thirds of magnolia species are found in Asia, with more than 40% of these in southern China. Almost half of all wild Chinese magnolias are now at risk of extinction.

“Most magnolias take a long time to start flowering and until then they are not reproducing, which means they are very vulnerable to over-exploitation,” said Dr Georgina Magin, FFI’s Global Trees Campaign coordinator. “Without urgent action many of these gems of the forest could be lost forever.”

The Global Trees Campaign has been working to conserve some of China’s magnolias, in particular Magnolia sinica, which has just 50 trees left in the wild. Over the past two years they have been working with partners in Yunnan Province in southern China to increase the species’ wild population.

We have already planted 400 nursery-grown saplings in a nature reserve and these are now being tended. Survival rates appear to be high so far and it is hoped this project could be used as a model to restore more of these glorious species in their natural habitats.

Download the Red List of Magnoliaceae, published in 2007.

Download full press release.

Visit the Global Trees Campaign website here.

Written by
Rebecca Foges

Rebecca has been working at FFI since September 2007. Though she studied conservation in her BA and MSc, she decided that the life in the jungle just wasn't for her. Having grown up in New York City, she has experienced more pigeons and squirrels than parrots and spider monkeys. So she decided to write about the impact that FFI's projects have on the ground. Her current role as Communications Officer (Business & Biodiversity) has allowed her to focus her energy towards FFI's innovative Business & Biodiversity Programme. Rebecca helps to get the message out about FFI's strategic corporate partnerships and what they have helped to achieve for global biodiversity.

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