The Perthshire Conifer Conservation Programme (PCCP), previously called the iCONic Project, is helping to protect some of the world's most threatened conifers from extinction. We do this in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh by collecting seeds from trees threatened in their natural habitat, growing these seeds into young trees, and planting them in safe havens in the forests, gardens and estates of Perthshire Big Tree Country.
The programme was launched in 2008 at Gleneagles Hotel.
There are c. 650 species of conifer in the world. Over one third of these are threatened with extinction in their natural habitats. Species as familiar as the monkey puzzle and giant redwood are suffering the impacts of threats such as logging, habitat loss and climate change.
With the world’s forests under unprecedented threat, ex-situ conservation - conserving species in dedicated collections away from their natural habitat - is an important part of any holistic conservation strategy. Perthshire is one of the best places in the UK and Ireland to grow many of the world’s threatened conifer species.
The PCCP is a partnership between PKCT, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and Forestry Commission Scotland.
Through RBGE’s International Conifer Conservation Programme, PCCP's Project Officer collects seeds of rare and threatened conifer species from all over the temperate world. These seeds are then grown into small trees at the RBGE Nursery before being planted out in safe havens in the forests, gardens and estates of Perthshire.
The trees planted through the PCCP are not just helping to regenerate the forest gardens of Perthshire, they are also contributing to an internationally important effort to save some of the world’s most threatened trees.
1,000 trees have been planted through the programme so far with the goal of 2,000 planted by 2018. Their performance will be closely monitored, and the data we collect will to aid ongoing research into conifer conservation. All the species on which the project is focusing are recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being threatened in their native habitat.
One day it is hoped that material from the trees growing in Perthshire can be returned to the countries from which they came to regenerate the native forests there.
Find out about what happens behind the scenes from seed collecting to tree planting.
Read about the Perthshire Conifer Conservation Programme's expeditions to collect seeds from and help conserve some of the world's most threatened conifer species in their native countries.
Read about how Perthshire's tree history was shaped by 'plant hunters' working for landowners to bring new and exotic species of trees and plants back to Perthshire.