Spare a thought for rare magnolias in the wild

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.

Visit the Global Trees Campaign website here.