Skip to content

Botanic guardians

Fauna & Flora works closely with local conservation partners in almost 50 countries worldwide. Together, we are safeguarding some of the world’s most threatened species and the habitats on which they depend, including a wide range of wonderful, beautiful but endangered plants.

Although sometimes overshadowed by animals – particularly the large, charismatic species known as megafauna -plants are a critical part of nature conservation; they are essential to all life on Earth. Plants supply the air that we breathe, help regulate our climate and provide habitat, food and shelter for millions of species, including our own.

Fauna & Flora’s track record of achievement in protecting endangered plants is a long one, and we are currently scaling up our work in this area, as part of our efforts to address the twin climate and biodiversity crises.

Tulips from Kyrgyzstan

If you thought that tulips were from Amsterdam, think again. Most wild tulips are from the mountainous regions of Central Asia.

Next time you buy a bunch of tulips or a bag of bulbs, take a moment to reflect that their wild ancestors face an uncertain future. Despite these flowers’ worldwide popularity, many wild tulips are threatened with extinction.

We are currently working in partnership with Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Bioresource to gather vital field data on tulip distribution, ecology and threats to help to pinpoint priority sites to protect the most vulnerable species. In these areas, we are working directly with pastoralists to help restore larger-scale areas of tulip habitat and grazing pasture by encouraging more sustainable practices that support the recovery of degraded grasslands.

Learn more about this project

Wild tulip, Tulipa rosea, Kyrgyzstan. © Brett Wilson

Wild tulip, Tulipa rosea, Kyrgyzstan. © Brett Wilson

The threats to Kyrgyzstan's wild tulips include overgrazing and climate change.

Let’s talk trees

From the Araucarias of the Atlantic Forest to the Ziyuan fir, almost 22,000 of the world’s 58,000 known tree species are officially threatened with extinction. That’s almost treble the number of threatened bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species combined. More than 2,800 of these are listed as critically endangered. In other words, without urgent action they are doomed to disappear completely.

For more than 20 years Fauna & Flora has championed threatened trees worldwide, raising their profile and addressing their conservation, as well as building local capacity to sustain conservation success.

Our impact for threatened trees would not be possible without the generous support of Fondation Franklinia. In 2022 alone, we took action to conserve 94 tree species in 12 countries.

The Global Trees Campaign, a partnership between Fauna & Flora and Botanic Gardens Conservation International that operated from 1999 to 2022, addressed the conservation of over 400 threatened tree species, as well as developing capacity and helping to increase the populations of those trees most in danger of extinction.

Swietenia macrophylla / Big-leaf mahogany. © Juan Pablo Moreiras / Fauna & Flora

Swietenia macrophylla / Big-leaf mahogany. © Juan Pablo Moreiras / Fauna & Flora

Big-leaf mahogany is native to Central and South America, but has also been widely cultivated in Southeast Asia.

Mistreated timber

Rosewood is one of the world’s most heavily trafficked wild products. The value of illegally traded rosewood exceeds that of elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts combined. Rocketing demand for this valuable timber has led to illegal and unsustainable logging of wild populations.

Fauna & Flora’s long-standing partner in Belize, Ya’axché, lobbied for a ban on logging of Honduran rosewood, which led to a government-imposed moratorium on harvesting the species. On the ground, logging has been reduced to zero since 2016, with nursery-grown rosewood seedlings boosting the wild population.

Learn more about this project


Rosewood germination box. © Ya’axché Conservation Trust

Rosewood germination box. © Ya’axché Conservation Trust

Seedlings of the critically endangered Honduran rosewood, grown successfully by Ya’axché, Fauna & Flora's long-term partner in Belize, after a decade of perseverance.

Fruits of the forest

Although a valuable resource for many, the world’s fruit-and-nut-forests are under threat. Three species from Central Asia – Niedzwetzky’s apple, the Tajik pear and Bukharan pear – are in particularly deep trouble.

Fauna & Flora has been working in Central Asia’s fruit-and-nut forests for over a decade, developing strategies to mitigate increasing human pressures, such as unsustainable grazing, cutting and firewood collection, which are causing both the fragmentation and degradation of the forests.

The future of these forests is not secure, but their protection is essential for the survival of both people and nature.  Fauna & Flora is working with and for local communities to ensure this precious resource isn’t lost forever.

Learn more about this project

Apple species Malus niedzwetzkyana, classified as Endangered by IUCN. © Chris Loades / Fauna & Flora

Apple species Malus niedzwetzkyana, classified as Endangered by IUCN. © Chris Loades / Fauna & Flora

Fauna & Flora is working to protect the little-known and endangered Niedzwetzky's apple. Surveys conducted in 2007 found just 39 adult trees in the rapidly shrinking fruit-and-nut forests of Kyrgyzstan, and the tree's population in neighbouring countries is unknown.

More magnolias, please

Although a firm favourite for a lot of nature lovers, many magnolias are unfortunately threatened with extinction in the wild. Fauna & Flora is working to protect these species in both Asia and the Americas.

In the northernmost mountains of Vietnam, cardamom cultivation poses a serious threat to a number of critically endangered magnolia species.

Fauna & Flora works closely with cardamom farmers to better protect target tree species and scale up restoration work. By protecting the remaining wild trees, as well as planting more nursery-grown magnolia seedlings, we are helping to boost the population sizes of threatened magnolias, while also increasing canopy cover that protects farmers’ crops from winter snowfall. Farmers who were previously paid to maintain the seedlings of threatened species are now continuing to do so without financial support, indicating a change in attitudes towards tree conservation.

Learn more about this project

Magnolia grandis in Vietnam. © Chu Xuan Canh / Fauna & Flora

Magnolia grandis in Vietnam. © Chu Xuan Canh / Fauna & Flora

Magnolia grandis in Vietnam.

To protect the planet, we must protect plants

Fauna & Flora is working in partnership with people and organisations around the world to tackle the growing biodiversity and climate crises. Protecting endangered plants is crucial to our success.
Your support can make a huge difference.

Help us to save nature, together.

Donate now