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For Endangered Florida Tree, How Far to Go to Save a Species?

Conservationists and scientists, including biologist E.O. Wilson (center, with microphone), gathered in Torreya State Park this month to discuss strategies to save the beleaguered Florida torreya tree (Dr. Westbrook, sitting, right). CAMILA GUILLEN, UF/IFAS

The Florida torreya is North America’s most endangered conifer, with less than one percent of its population remaining. Now, scientists are mounting a last-ditch effort to save the torreya and are considering using new gene-editing technologies to protect it. In early March, TACF president and CEO, Lisa Thomson and director of science, Dr. Jared Westbrook attended a conference about the tree at the Torreya State Park in Bristol, FL to offer hope and promise for the survival of the torreya. Those working feverishly to save the tree are using the American chestnut as a model because of TACF’s scientific research and efforts toward restoration. Read the full article at YaleEnvironment360, Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies online magazine.