Juniper Cedrus is threatened by fire and grazing


The IUCN SSC Conifer Specialist Group is a member of the International Union for Conservation’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) and comprises 32 members. The collective expertise of the Group feeds into the IUCN Red List for threatened species.

Current members of the IUCN SSC Conifer Specialist Group

Chair · China

Yong Yang

In September 2020 I took up a new position at The Nanjing Forestry University (NJFU) but previous to this I worked at the State Key Laboratory of Systematics and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. My major research interests are taxonomy and evolution of gymnosperms and the angiosperm family Lauraceae. I have described three new genera, twelve new species including living and fossil plants. Recently, my colleagues and I completed a new catalogue of living gymnosperms which includes scientific names and synonyms, distribution maps, endangered status, and altitudinal ranges. These woody plants have many species with extremely small populations, and are flagship species for conservation practices. I will continue my research on taxonomy and evolution of gymnosperms and pay more attention to their conservation biology. I was appointed Chair of the Conifer Specialist Group in September 2020

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Red List Authority · United Kingdom

Philip Thomas

I joined the International Conifer Conservation Programme in 1995. Since then, I have studied conifers in the field in many temperate and subtropical parts of the world including China, mainland SE Asia, New Caledonia and Chile. I am also the Coordinator for the IUCN Conifer Redlist Authority and an active member of the IUCN Conifer Specialist Group with a particular interest in SE Asian conifers.

Member · Turkey

Necmi Aksoy

I graduated in the Faculty of Forestry (Karadeniz Technical University) in 1996 and gained my MSc and PhD in the Department of Forestry, Istanbul University between 1999 and 2006. I am full Associate Professor in Forest Botany and Head of Department of Forest Botany at Duzce University Faculty of Forestry. My research focuses on dendrology, herbaria, arboreta and botanical gardens and my current research concerns invasive plants, plant systematics and plant sociology. My research in the Herbarium of Duzce University Faculty of Forestry (DUOF) and the Botanical Garden of Duzce University concerns the protection of biodiversity of the western Black Sea Region of Turkey. I organized the 1st International Yew Workshop of Turkey with German Yew Society in Duzce in 2015. I am an author of the Illustrated Flora of Turkey Project working on conifers species.

Member · Russia

Leonid Averyanov

I was born in St.-Petersburg, Russia in 1955 and graduated from St.-Petersburg State University in 1977 after which I have worked at the Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences. I was a candidate of Sciences (PhD) in 1983 and awarded my Doctor of Science degree in 1991. I was given my Professorship in 1999. My research programmes have led to me having participated in many expeditions in the Old World. I have successively completed numerous grant projects supported from the Russian Foundation of Fundamental Investigations, UNESCO, National Geographic Society (USA), National Science Foundation, American Orchid Society (USA), Chicago Zoological Society, WWF, Fauna and Flora International, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, etc. My present position is Head of the Higher Plant Herbarium Department of the Komarov Botanical Institute (LE) and Acting President of the All-Russian Botanical Society. I have authored about 500 scientific publications and monographs. My main scientific interests are plant taxonomy, particularly monocots and gymnosperms, plant geography of Eurasia and the conservation of nature. 

Member · Lebanon

Lara Awad

I am a Lebanese scientist interested in reconstructing population dynamics by means of fossil pollen and DNA analyses. I hold a PhD in palaeoecology and population genetics from the University of Montpellier where I have mainly worked on the population dynamics of the conifer species Abies cilicica. I am a lecturer at the Saint-Joseph University of Beirut and the Lebanese International University, and director of the environment department at the association 'Care For Me' of the Maronite Catholic Church. Furthermore, I have a weekly radio programme about the relationship between humans and their environment.

Member · USA

Andrew Bower

I am a geneticist with the US Forest Service in Olympia, Washington. I have a bachelor’s degree in forestry from University of California, Berkeley, a MSc in forest science from Oregon State University, and a PhD in forest sciences from the University of British Columbia. I hold the position of Forest Service Area Geneticist for Western Washington and Northwest Oregon which covers the Olympic, Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Hood, and Siuslaw National Forests. Currently I am the Project Leader for the US Forest Service’s Whitebark Pine Restoration Program in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington). My professional interests include population and conservation genetics of forest trees and native plants, and conservation/restoration of rare or threatened trees, especially whitebark pine. I also work with botanists and foresters providing guidance on seed movement guidelines and genetic issues relative to trees and herbaceous native plants

Member · Jamaica

Keron Campbell

I am Head of the Botany Department and Curator of the National Herbarium (IJ) at the Natural History Museum of Jamaica (NHMJ). I undertook my Doctorate degree in botany at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where I completed two degrees, graduating in 1999 and 2008 with a BSc in Botany and a MSc in Natural Resource Management. My work involves conservation research at the Mason River Protected Area, Game Sanctuary and Ramsar Site (MRPAGS&RS) which is managed by the NHMJ. I have published research papers on the endemic trees of Jamaica among other research topics. I Chair the National Ramsar Committee and National Focal Point for the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) of the Ramsar Convention in Jamaica. I am also a member of the Plant Genetic Resource for Food and Agriculture Management Authority and the Invasive Alien Species Working Group.

Member · Fiji

Maika Daveta

I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Chemistry (University of the South Pacific), prior to this I pursued further studies and graduating in Postgraduate Diploma in Biotechnology. As part of my present Masters degree, which is concerned with sustainability harvesting of the five most common timber species in Fiji, I was awarded a 10 month Erasmus Mundus Masters Exchange programme at KU Leuven Belgium in 2014. My interest in conifer research started when I joined the Silviculture Research Division of the Ministry of Forestry, Fiji as the Forestry officer concerned with tree improvement. My research concerns the mass propagation of gymnosperms, specifically of Podocarpus neriifolius, and Dacridium nausoriense

member · China

Lianming Gao

I am a Professor of CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia and Head of Lijiang Forest Biodiversity National Observation and Research Station, Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences. I obtained my PhD degree in Botany from KIB in 2002. My major researches include plant taxonomy, molecular phylogenetics and biogeography, speciation and adaptive evolution, community ecology and biodiversity conservation on several plant groups. I started to work on taxonomy, DNA barcoding, phylogeny, conservation genetics and speciation of Taxaceae species, especially on Taxus from 2003, and have established a DNA barcode reference library of all extant species of Taxaceae

Member · Mexico

Socorro Gonzalez-Elizondo

In 1982 I gained my PhD from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico where today I am a Senior Researcher and the Herbarium Curator at CIIDIR. I am a founder of this important herbarium which serves as a reference collection of the biodiversity of Mexico’s central highlands and the Sierra Madre Occidental. I also coordinate a project on the floristics and ecology of the vegetation of the Sierra Madre Occidental and research the systematics of the Cyperaceae, Cupressaceae, Pinaceae and Arbutoideae and collaborate in floristic projects in Mexico and elsewhere. I teach courses and undertake workshops on taxonomy, natural resources and sustainability. With several colleagues, I have described more than 50 new species and a new genus, and have authored more than 100 journal articles, seven books, and 18 book chapters or contributions to several floras (from Flora of North America to Flora del Cono Sur in Argentina and Chile).

Member · Australia

Gunnar Keppel

I am an environmental biologist at the University of South Australia. My research centres on the conservation of biodiversity and contributing towards a better understanding of species distributions using biological and environmental data. Born in Germany, I lived in Fiji for twenty years, where I worked on the biogeography and ecology of Pacific island environments, undertaking extensive field work. Since moving to Australia in 2009, I have mostly researched the role of refugia in facilitating the persistence of biodiversity under anthropogenic climate change, and the importance of stable microclimates in providing suitable habitats for wildlife. I have developed a passion for gymnosperms during my Masters research on the Pacific cycad, Cycas seemannii, in 1998/99, and I contributed to conservation assessments of Fijian conifers. I am currently on an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the University of Göttingen working on the effect of environmental heterogeneity on species diversity in insular environments.

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Member · Lebanon

Magda Bou Dagher Kharratt

I am Professor and Head of Department of Life and Earth Science at the Faculty of Science in Saint-Joseph University (USJ) Beirut where I am plant geneticist with special interests in conifer genetics. I employ genomic tools to investigate tree populations and flowering plants in order to understand their phylogeny, phylogeography and their historical evolutionary processes. The results of my research has allowed me to define conservation policies and reforestation strategies that are optimizing the survival of tree populations in the face of climate change and high mountain ecosystem restoration. I am the co-founder and vice-president of Jouzour Loubnan, an NGO dealing with reforestation in Lebanon since 2008. My work on restoration and rehabilitation of degraded mountain ecosystems and genetic investigation and conservation of the Lebanese flora is recognized at national and regional levels. I have become an expert in forestry and ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems.

Member · India

Jibankumar Singh Khuraijam

I am a plant conservationist at CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow where I am working on the ex-situ conservation of threatened plants especially on Indian cycads and Himalayan conifers. My current research is focused on the taxonomy and nomenclature of the Himalayan conifers. I am able to solve nomenclature problems of Indian conifers which remain neglected for decades. My interest on the conifers has taken me to almost all the herbaria in India for specimen consultation for taxonomical studies and for phenology-climate change studies. At CSIR-NBRI Botanic Garden, I am developing seed germination protocols of the Indian conifers and planning to develop a pinetum. I am also writing a book on Indian Conifers with detailed information on morphology, taxonomy, phenology, distribution and uses of each species.

Member · Morocco

Mostafa Lamrani-Alaoui

After completing my studies in Biological Sciences in 1992 from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Meknes in Morocco, I gained my PhD in Ecology from the University of Seville (Spain) in 1998. I worked as Associate Professor as researcher in the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology from 1999 until 2003. Since my thesis, I worked on Mediterranean Abies forests and continued my research on plant ecology in riparian, dunes and mountainous ecosystems. From 2004 to 2008 I coordinated a conservation project of coastal and mountainous wetlands in Morocco. Also, I coordinated a collaborative project between Spain and Morocco for the creation and implementation of the Intercontinental Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve. I am a full Professor in Plant Ecology at the National School of Forest Engineers where I curate the herbarium. My research focuses on plant ecology and landscape ecology of the principle Mediterranean coniferous forest species including species of evergreen trees and desert plants.

Member · Australia

Berin Mackenzie

I am an applied ecologist with the NSW government in Sydney, Australia, where I specialise in threatened species conservation, fire ecology, seed germination, and extinction risk. My research focus is on mechanisms of regeneration and persistence in native plant communities and the role of disturbance in maintaining floristic diversity. I work in a broad range of ecosystems from arid-zone woodlands to cloud forests on oceanic islands. I completed my PhD on fire seasonality (the time of year of fire occurrence) and its impact on fire-driven recruitment from soil seed banks. I currently lead the field research program for the iconic Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) including its ecology, translocation, and fire response. Other research projects include the impacts of the 2019-20 Australian megafires on NSW flora; risk-based fire management of threatened species; and overcoming barriers to natural regeneration of threatened plants and ecosystems on Lord Howe Island.

Member · China

Kangshan Mao

I received my PhD degree on Ecology from School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, China in 2010, and I conducted researches at University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden as a visiting postgraduate in 2008. I worked at Lanzhou University for three years, and then moved to College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University and worked here since 2013. My research area focused mainly on the molecular systematics, evolution, ecology and conservation of Cupressaceae, a family that one third of its species are listed as threatened in IUCN Red List. I traveled extensively in Western China to survey Cupressaceae plants there, especially in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. I reconstructed the evolutionary timescale of Cupressaceae, and several of its genera including Juniperus, by integrating both molecular and fossil evidence; we also conducted conservation genetic studies for several threatened species in western China, including Cupressus gigantea, C. chengiana, J. microsperma, J. erectopatens. I am updating the evolutionary history both in time and space for Cupressaceae family and its genera using NGS data, and conducting population (conservation) genomic and ecological studies for threatened and economically important Cupressaceae species in East Asia.

Member · Mexico

Jorge Pérez de la Rosa

I was born in 1955 in the city of Mexicali, Baja California and since 1965 my place of residence has been Guadalajara in the State of Jalisco, México. I studied Ingeniero Agrónomo Fitotecnista en la Universidad de Guadalajara (1975-1980), lectured in sciences at the Postgraduate College (1990-1993) and gained a Doctorate in biological sciences from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1994-2001). My speciality is Gymnosperms and since 1981 I have been the curator of the Gymnosperm collections in the herbarium of Luz María Villarreal de Puga” (IBUG) University of Guadalajara, México. I am a member of the Sociedad Botánica de México, A.C. (1981-2017), Cuerpo Académico UDG-CA-23 Biosistemática (2007-2017) and have been a member of the IUCN Conifer Specialist Group since 1968.

Member · Argentina

Andrea Premoli

I graduated in Biological Sciences (University of Buenos Aires) in 1987 and gained a PhD in biology (University of Colorado Boulder) in 1994. I am a full Professor in genetics and Director of the Biology Department at the Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche, Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Bariloche, Argentina. I am a Principal Researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medio Ambiente (INIBIOMA). My research focuses on population genetics applied to factors affecting the evolution of plants and the conservation of natural resources, particularly of South American woody species of austral and subtropical montane forests. In my laboratory we use molecular tools for phylogeographic studies to reconstruct the biogeographic history of tree species. We also analyze the genetic basis of quantitative variation and study functional plant traits to disentangle the effects of natural selection under contrasting environments to understand potential responses under climate change.

Member · Hungary

István Rácz

After completing my studies in landscaping in Budapest I received my PhD in 1984 from the University of Forestry, Sopron in W. Hungary. From 1976 onwards I worked as a member of the Dendrological Atlas project team led by Zsolt Debreczy at the Botanical Department, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, where I eventually became curator of the Gymnosperm Collection. From 1988-1992 I was Mercer Fellow and Visiting Scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and associate of the International Dendrological Research Institute, Inc. since 1990. Mainly along with Zsolt Debreczy, I participated in several major field expeditions organised for the Dendrological Atlas project. These included a number of explorations in the US; Mexico (several long trips between 1990 and 2004); China (7 visits 1986–2004), as well as Chile, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand, Tasmania, the Himalayan region, and Indochina. With Zsolt Debreczy I co-authored Conifers Around the World (2011).

Member · Scotland

Markus Ruhsam

My lifelong interest in plants has inspired me to do an MSc in ‘Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants’ at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) , followed by a PhD at the University of Edinburgh which led to my current position as Molecular Plant Ecologist at RBGE. I am a botanist who uses genetic tools to study and understand plant diversity. The combination of morphological and molecular techniques is a powerful approach to investigate evolutionary processes which, for instance, has led to the discovery of a new species of monkey puzzle trees (Araucaria) in New Caledonia. Using next generation sequencing I am currently collaborating with Kangshan Mao from Sichuan University to clarify phylogenetic relationships within various gymnosperm families, mainly Cupressaceae.

Member · United Kingdom

Keith Rushforth

After leaving Aberdeen University in 1972 with an Honours Degree in Forestry, I have worked in Arboriculture and since 1984 I have been self-employed as an Independent Arboricultural Consultant. I have been a member of the Conifer Specialist Group since its inauguration in 1986. My interest in conifers was aroused in my student days in the 1960s when during my Honours year my project was on the West Chinese Silver firs - an interest in Abies which continues to the present day. This has led me both in seeing them in the wild and in ex situ conservation - it is difficult, but not quite impossible, to understand the variation purely from studying herbarium material, but somewhat easier from seeing living trees. Silver firs have been a major factor in my choice of parts of the world to visit, concentrating on South and South East Asia where companion plants are nearly as interesting.

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Member · Lebanon

Myrna Semaan

My PhD in plant molecular systematics was gained from the University of Reading in 2000. Since 2008 I have served as Chairperson and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the American University of Technology, Lebanon and Head of Friends of Nature which focuses on the nature conservation and biodiversity of Lebanon. I have helped to pioneer nature conservation with the development of the first two nature reserves (the most pristine cedar forest remnants in Lebanon) through grassroots empowerment and parliamentary ratification of the first conservation law, creating the breakthrough and legal precedence in Lebanon. My current conservation activity is to develop conservation initiatives with the private sector. I have co-authored four books concerning the unique natural heritage of Lebanon and the East Mediterranean. I have been a member of the Conifer Specialist Group since 1999.

Member · Cuba

Luis González Torres

For over 14 years I have worked on plant conservation of Cuban plants. I graduated from college in 2001 and went on to complete an MSc in botany in 2004 and a PhD in biology in 2010. I taught plant sciences courses at the Faculty of Biology, University of Havana. Nowadays, I lecture Conservation Biology at the University of British Columbia, and Biology at Douglas College, Canada. I work to develop local-based conservation initiatives that conserve and sustainably manage plants and habitats. With my team, we have reduced threats and improved the conservation situation of more than 32 endemic plant species and their habitats while developing local capacities for conservation. In 2014 I was presented with the Whitley Award, an international conservation prize for our work promoting the conservation of Cuban plant life. I was elected “Junior Associate” of the Cuban Academy of Sciences in 2012.

Member · Australia

Alistair Watt

I emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1969 where with my wife we created an eight acre garden featuring tropical conifers, many of which have been collected from my overseas expeditions. My semi-professional plant hunting career has included visiting China, Chile, Fiji, New Caledonia, Lord Howe Island and Vanuatu. I have had strong collaborative links with many of the world’s leading botanical gardens and exchanged a lot of my plant collections with them. I am Founding President of the Australian Conifer Society and past Vice-president of the International Dendrology Society, (now Honorary Life Member). I have been a member of the Conifer Specialist Group since its formation and made contributions to the conservation assessments of the New Caledonian conifer species. My most recent published work was on the Scottish collector Robert Fortune and I am currently writing a biography of the 19th century RBG Sydney Director Charles Moore

Member · Japan/ Australia

James Worth

I graduated from the University of Tasmania with a PhD in forest ecology and genetics in 2009. After my PhD, I became a postdoctoral research fellow at Kyoto University where I studied the phylogeography and conservation genetics of the palaeoendemic conifer Sciadopitys verticillata, the sole member of the Sciadopityaceae. Later, I returned to the University of Tasmania to investigate hybridisation, clonality and the impact of fire on genetic diversity of the Tasmanian endemic Cupressaceae genera, Diselma and Athrotaxis. Since 2015, I have been employed as a senior researcher at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Japan, where I have continued to pursue my interest in conifer conservation and genetics with my research focussing on Japanese and Tasmanian endemic species

Member · Chile

Carlos Zamorano-Elgueta

I am a Forest Engineer with a MSc in rural development from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, San Cristóbal de las Casas, México and a PhD in ecology, conservation and restoration of ecosystems from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid. I am a professor at the Universidad de Aysén in Chile, adjoint researcher at the Center for Climate and Resilience Research ((CR)2) and adjoint researcher at Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh). I have participated in several research projects concerning forest degradation, conservation and restoration of temperate forests and threatened plant species in Chile. Specifically, I study the effects of human-induced disturbances on ecosystems functions in Chilean temperate forests, including evergreen and araucaria forest, as the basis to define restoration actions. Through my research I'm combining ecological and socioeconomic variables in a spatially explicit multi-criteria analysis to define priority areas for restoration activities based on the ecological and socioeconomic complexity of the territory.