A team led by Tom Christian and Martin Gardner (coordinator of the International Conifer Conservation Program) embarked on a ten-day trip in late 2015 to Morocco. With aid from colleagues from the University of Rabat, the team focused on collecting the Moroccan Fir and Atlas cedar which are found in the once extensive mountain forests.

Atlas cedar is already a familiar sight in large gardens and parks throughout the UK, with some of the most stunning examples in Perthshire Big Tree Country, but is near extinction in its native habitat in Morocco. Atlas Cedar forests have been exploited for their valuable timber for several centuries and have been subject to overgrazing and repeated burning. Exploitation has increased over the last 50 years, and now climate change is beginning to take an additional toll, with projections suggesting the situation will only get worse. More recently, pests and diseases are also having an increasingly detrimental effect on the species in some areas of its natural range.