Science-based conservation of tree species in Mexico

Supporting reforestation through seed conservation - a collaborative research programme between the Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, UNAM, México and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the conservation of useful tree species in Mexico.

Rocky landscape in Mexico

Forest ecosystems play an important role in the biogeochemical processes of the earth, and are therefore crucial to mitigate the impacts of human-induced climate change. Trees and forests also provide many direct benefits for humans, such as the production of timber, firewood, ritual aspects, etc., as well as vital ecosystem services such as clean water and the prevention of soil erosion.

Tree species of Mexico are undoubtedly one of the most important natural resources existing in the country. However, despite their widely documented importance, for the conservation of trees to be successful there are a considerable number of challenges to be overcome.

The Global Tree Seed Bank Project is one of Kew's major projects aiming to secure the seeds of at least 3,000 tree species from across the world in safe, long-term storage, among them the world's rarest, most threatened and useful plants important for the livelihoods of rural communities.

In Mexico, the project started in 2015 and aims to implement integrated in situ and ex situ conservation of tree species, prioritizing endemic, protected and useful plants important for the livelihoods of rural communities.


  • Modelling the actual and potential distribution of endemic, protected and useful tree species of Mexico under a changing climate
  • Ex situ conservation of endemic, protected and useful tree species
  • Seed research activities to support conservation and reforestation of useful trees
  • Dissemination of information regarding useful trees
  • List of tree species of Mexico with information on distribution, conservation status, uses and maps of tree species biodiversity hotspots to be identified
  • Seed conservation of 300 tree species to be carried out
  • Seed germination and plant propagation protocols for at least 25 priority useful tree species to be established
  • Predictive model on seed desiccation tolerance based on both climatic and seed biology traits for useful trees of Mexico to be developed

Garfield Weston Foundation