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Endangered Trees

Updated on March 25, 2013

More World Endangered Trees

By no means is the Torreya the only endangered tree in the world, others that deserve our attention and protection are:

  • African Ash
  • African cherry
  • African mahogany
  • African Teak
  • Afzella
  • Aja
  • Ajo
  • Alcerce
  • Almaciga
  • Argarwood
  • Bintangor
  • Brazilian cherry
  • Brazilian rosewood a.k.a.Dalbergia Nigra, Jacaranda da Bahia
  • Bleedwood tree
  • Ceylon satinwood
  • Egba
  • Guatemalan fir
  • Honduras mahogany
  • Ipe
  • Kauri
  • King William Pine
  • Lauan
  • Meranti
  • Molave
  • New Guinea walnut
  • Nayotah
  • Parana pine
  • Parlatorei
  • Pau rosa a.ka. Pau Brasil
  • Pencil cedar
  • Ramin
  • Red sandalwood
  • Rosewood
  • Sajo
  • Spanish cedar
  • Teak
  • Utile
  • Walnut
  • West Indian Satinwood

The Race to Save the World's Most Endangered Trees

The Florida Torreya
The Florida Torreya | Source

World's Most Endangered Conifer


Endangered Florida Trees - The Florida Torreya

(Torreya taxifolia)

Little known to most Floridians and visitors from other states, is an endangered tree species that is nestled along the Apalachicola River in the big-bend region of the Florida panhandle. These conifers are located in a state park that is considered a virtual botanical gold mine.

The tree itself, is extremely rare species that in Florida, only grows on the bluffs along the Apalachicola River. Its botanical name is torreya taxifolia.

This tree, once thriving along the river, has almost disappeared, through what some say might have been a fungal plant disease of the 1950s. Its ultimate cause of decline is still unexplained and many believe it may be an early victim of global warming.

Torreya trees are among the rarest conifers in the world. Pioneer botanist Hardy Bryan Croom discovered the Florida trees. Torreya is a member of the ancient gymnosperm family Taxaceae , whose biological ancestors were evolutionarily distinct from all other conifers nearly 200 million years ago.

Today, the four existing species grow only in isolated locations only in northern Florida, Central California, Japan, and China. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were an estimated 300,000 to 600,000 Torreya trees.

Today, 99% of them have died. Once these little known conifers stood 60 feet tall, now the few remaining are seldom over ten feet tall.

The trees here in Florida can be seen at Torreya State Park. The park is only 2,500 acres but it is home to more than 600 plant species in 129 families that includes more rare plants per acre than any other area in Florida.

It's thought that the park's plant diversity results from its wide range of elevation and unique geography that can be compared to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

There is a controversial race to save the Torreya, which is often described as the world's most endangered conifer. The rescue plan is known as "Assisted Migration" or "Rewilding." This simply means that they can be planted by anyone who chooses to do so without any governmental oversight or prohibition, provided that private seed stock is obtainable, and that one or more private landowners volunteer appropriate acreage. It's seen as an easy, cheap, and legal rescue plan.

The controversy is, that some view this plan as the easy, cheap, and legal rescue plan -- it is frightening, because again it can be done by anyone with care or abandon. Thus, rewilding can undermine decades of public education about non-native plants, and in the end promote negative ecological consequences.

For anyone who would like to learn more about this tree, please go to their website where the effort is to protect the few trees that remain in the wild in Florida; clone genotypes; and replant progeny in a legally approved recovery plan administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Baobab Tree (Adansonia digitata in Africa)
Baobab Tree (Adansonia digitata in Africa) | Source

The World-Wide Race

There is a world wide race to save endangered trees. Endangered trees such as the Torreya Pine, are of equal importance.

Perhaps, nowhere else in this world are there more endangered trees, than those found in Brazil. You'd have to live under a rock to not have heard of the many tree species that have been logged off the Amazon rain-forest.

However, most of us would be surprised to learn that the Amazon region isn't the only area in Brazil with endangered trees.

This country's Mata Atlantica area's forests once covered 520,000 square miles, now they only cover 36,400 square miles (roughly 7% of the original wooded area). This is the only area in the world where a certain Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia Nigeria) is native and grows.

Across the ocean and on another continent, there is a race to save many tree species inside the Central Africa's rain forests, such as the ones found in the Madagascar tropical rain forest .

There, endangered trees continue to be logged off, destroying the habitat, of still other endangered species of wildlife, particularly the chimpanzees and Gorillas. Inside Africa, trees are endangered in both the Eastern and Western tropical rain forests.

We are in a world-wide race to save endangered trees and everyone on the planet should devote at least a small part of their time and thought to this important topic. Every day trees all over the world disappear, with people giving little thought to the fact that each tree is needed if we want to continue to breathe.

Monkey Puzzle Tree below the dam on the lake at Center Parcs
Monkey Puzzle Tree below the dam on the lake at Center Parcs | Source

Tree Conservation Terminology

Rewilding (a.k.a. Assisted Migration) - Endangered trees planted by anyone who chooses to do so without any governmental oversight or prohibition, provided that private seed stock is obtainable, and that one or more private landowners volunteer appropriate acreage.

Preservation - Preserving old growth trees for the production of new trees.

Reforestation - Replanting seedlings in areas where the trees were once found originally.

Sustainable Resources - Planting enough trees in forest plantations to meet the needs of harvesting coveted woods (managed tree farms).

More Global Regions With Endangered Trees

Other world-wide regions where endangered trees are losing the race:

  • New Zealand or Australian temperate rain forests
  • Madagascar tropical rain forest
  • Mascarene tropical forests
  • Colombian rain forests
  • Caribbean tropical forests
  • Indonesian rain forests
  • Philippine rain forests
  • Indian mountain forests (Ghat region)
  • Himalayan forests
  • Chinese tropical forests

Head of a Dragon Tree
Head of a Dragon Tree | Source

Closer to Home

Since most people tend to think of "rain forests" as something you would find in South America or Africa, it's important to remind everyone that here in the U.S. we have our own rain forests. Any American concerned about endangered trees needs to think about the:

  • Kalamona; and
  • Alaska's coastal temperate rain forest

First, Hawaii's tropical rain forest has several endangered trees:

  • Cooke's Kokia
  • Hawaiian Cotton Tree
  • Nanu
  • Lanai Sandalwood
  • Kalamona

All of which are unique and not found anywhere else in the world. All are in need of protection and reforestation efforts. Additionally, one of the biggest dangers to them -- other trees! It is the encroachment of non-native invasive trees that a primarily attacking Hawaii's tropical rain forest.

When it comes to Alaska's coastal temperate rain forest, it's probably a surprise to most of us, that Alaska could even have a "rain forest." There was a time when this rain forest encompassed forested land from the California redwoods to the coastal region of Alaska. This rain forest has the same enemy of most of the world's rain forests -- humans cutting down the forest commercially.

This pristine area is one of our virtually unknown national treasures and houses over forty percent of the world's old-growth temperate coastal rain forest. Alaska's rain forest is ninety percent contained within the Tongas and Chugach National Forests, so you would think it would be safe, yet we've allowed about one million acres to clear cut logging and roads, just in the last fifty years.

Think about this Alaska rain forest example:

  • The Tongas National Forest is the only one in America, where we've allowed commercial logging in road less areas.
  • The Sitka spruce found in this rain forest, as well as other old growth trees, are home to Bald eagles, wolves, salmon, and bears.
  • This forest is also a watershed for those same wildlife species, clear cut logging roads, greatly impact their survival, along with the trees.
  • The real shame in allowing commercial logging in Alaska's road less areas, is that we the American taxpayer have allowed our U.S. Forestry Service, to cost us $1 billion dollars in subsidizing commercial clear cut logging of trees that are more than two hundred years old (some are estimated at more than seven hundred years old).
  • The U.S. Forestry Service is selling the trees for less than they are worth.and we get to pay for the cost of building the logging roads and maintaining them.

The Environmental Importance of Trees - India

Endangered Trees - Bois Dantelle (only 2 known to exist)
Endangered Trees - Bois Dantelle (only 2 known to exist)

Family Reforestation Vacations

Image the lasting impression you could make on your children, by taking them on a reforestation vacation? The concept is simple:

  • Involve them in the vacation planning by having them help you find out about endangered trees in your state or chosen vacation state
  • Spend your vacation visiting that state park, wildlife refuge, and national park
  • This doesn't have to be expensive, and can be simply a family day trip

Making A Difference

There are a number of ways that the average citizen, living anywhere can make a difference in the reforestation of the world. Roll up your sleeves, and find an idea what works for you by:

  • Sharing your basic knowledge about endangered trees
  • Donating your time to reforestation, rewilding, and preservation projects;
  • Donating your financial support to reforestation, rewilding, and preservation projects;
  • Taking a reforestation vacation
  • Going green in your use of products that use timber
  • Teaching the next generations the value of trees
  • Planting trees on your property

Apathy and Deforestation

Other Reforestation Vacations

Globally, there are many reforestation vacations that need volunteers, some of these include:

  • Guatemala Quetzalenango Reforestation Project
  • Ecuador's Lalo Loor Dry Forest Project
  • Costa Rica Cloudbridge Reserve Reforestation Project
  • Tijuca National Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Reforestation Project
  • Galapagos Islands Reforestation Project
  • Menengai Hill Forest Station Reforestation Project, Kenya
  • Mount Kenya Reforestation Project, Kenya
  • Nepal Reforestation Project, India
  • Puerto Rico Reforestation Project

American Endangered Trees Facts

  • We lose four acres of trees per minute in the United States.
  • The Federal government does not own the majority of trees in the U.S.
  • Sixty percent of all forested acreage in the U.S. is owned by private individuals and families.
  • The majority of all privately held forested acreage in America is owned by individuals over the age of 55.
  • As the private owners of this acreage age, the ownership is likely to change hands and be sold or divided by heirs.
  • With inflation, the value of the land may give way to widespread deforestation.
  • Large acreage and tracts of land with forests are at risk of mismanagement
  • Large acreage and tracts of land with forests are at risk of subdivision
  • Large acreage and tracts of land with forests are at risk of being developed

Amazon Reforestation Deforestation


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    • profile image

      Mian Riaz ul Haq 

      5 years ago

      Dalbergia sissoo, Betula utilis and Juniperus macropoda are also dwindling at an alarming rate in Pakistan

    • profile image

      Jeff Binion 

      6 years ago

      Hi Jerilee ... thanks for the link to our Dalbergia Nigra reforestation website. Nice job on your site and efforts as well. Keep it up, the forests need other like you.

    • profile image

      Open Heart Gardener 

      7 years ago

      Can't live without TREES. What else is there to say. Should we have to say anything else? Author of The Treesure Trove.

    • TENKAY profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Flooding is attributed to wantonly cutting of trees for easy money. Most countries are feeling the wrath of nature because of the killing of trees.

      Here in the Philippines,some schools requires college students to plant a certain number of trees as one of their requirements for graduation. It will take years before we would feel the effect of the tree planting activities of the students but I think it's a big start in the right direction.

      We have an emergency where trees/forests are concerned. Nothing is really too late if we start solving the problem now.

      How about a tree planted for every hubber who reads your hub or for every follower of your hub...

    • profile image

      Nidhi Kothari 

      7 years ago

      its too necessaries to save trees as global warming is increasing instantly.

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 

      8 years ago from Connecticut

      a plethora of amazing information, great hub! voted up

    • profile image

      Jessie Zimmerman 

      8 years ago

      i going to wire about trees shrubs and other stuff lit etkat great post BTW.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks Conservation Jobs! I wish I had a better picture of the Baobob trees to do it justice.

    • profile image

      Conservation Jobs 

      8 years ago

      Really informative hub. I love the Baobob trees.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks breathe2travel! It's certainly OK, thanks for asking.

    • breathe2travel profile image


      8 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      If any of your readers are interested in reforestation in the southern region of the US,I know an excellent resource for pine seedlings. A few years ago we toured his farm and were familiarized with the research he has done tor produce healthy seedlings with a high stand rate. Although these trees are not yet "endangered", they are readily harvested for timber, pine shavings, flooring, sap, pine straw, etc. Mr. Whitfield (tree farmer) is interested in not only supplying his clients with quality seedlings, but quality information about protecting the environment.

      I am going to add a link to his site (my husband is his webmaster) to your hub. Your link is at the bottom of this linked page.

      I hope that's okay with you. Thank you for well-presented information.

      Warmest regards~

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks Becky Puetz!

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      9 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great hub, thanks for sharing.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks Ultimate Hubber! I think it is our duty to spread awareness.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      I find it really hard to read or hear about endangered species. And can't really read about the extinct ones. That video about Amazon rain forests was one of the most depressing ones. Maybe we can create awareness by joint and individual efforts.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks Jule Romans!

    • Jule Romans profile image

      Jule Romans 

      9 years ago from United States

      WOW. great hub. Thanks for the information.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks wolfpack5!

    • wolfpack5 profile image


      9 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Great hub and very good insite on this subject :)

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks Greenheart! I'll have to check that out, sounds interesting and worthwhile.

    • Greenheart profile image


      9 years ago from Cambridge

      Hi Jerilee and thanks for this hub!

      It is very informative.

      The question of what can be done about the worlds trees is an important one.We all value breathing and the trees give us oxygen!

      Going to Prince Charles rain-forest site and posting your support there is one thing.Another thing is to check out a Company called The Amazon Herb Company.Over 1,000,000 acres have been saved so far.It is using the model of sustainable agriculture and places a great value on the healing plants of the region.

      My prayer at this point is for the climate talks to bear real fruit and that more and more we take a stand at this critical time of our planet and all its inhabitants.

      Best wishes in all that you do.


    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Save the trees.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks D.A.L. I'm not sure anything but possibly education can stop them.

    • D.A.L. profile image


      9 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      It is of paramount importance that these trees worldwide are saved. They are the lungs of the world. You are so right to bring this to the attention of all. Let us pray that those who are capable of stopping this do so, for all our sakes

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks Daniel says!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow, that video is right.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Denys says! You've got that right.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow we better get a move on it and fix this before its too late


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