Torreya Tree of Life, 2018
On March 1-2, 2018 nearly 100 scientists and researchers from across the nation gathered for the Torreya Tree of Life event at Torreya State Park in Quincy, Florida. The event allowed scientists to share knowledge and prioritize goals in support of saving the federally endangered Torreya tree (Torreya taxifolia) from extinction.
The event was composed of eight lectures from scientists, horticulturalists and conservationists who have all dedicated their lives to plant species and biodiversity. The most well-known speaker and honored guest of the event was Dr. Edward O. Wilson, one of the first scientists to recognize the decline of Torreya taxifolia.
On the final day of the event, a group of 40 scientists met at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center to strategize on conservation priorities for Torreya. Topics of discussion included ex situ safeguarding efforts of botanical gardens, studies on the genetic diversity of the species with a focus on inherited disease resistance, the role that private property owners and other stakeholders play in conservation of the species, and the challenges and strategies involved in managing habitat needed by Torreya within its narrow native range along the eastern bluffs and ravines bordering the Apalachicola River in Florida and extreme southwest Georgia.