Quercus boyntonii Conservation Planning


28 January 2022



Amy Byrne and numerous organizers co-led and facilitated a species conservation planning workshop for Quercus boyntonii, a Critically Endangered oak native to Alabama, and one of the 29 priority oak species the GCCO is focusing on in the US. This workshop was virtual and held over the course of three meetings. At the workshop, species threats were discussed in more detail and the group determined where they could intervene to mitigate the negative impacts of the various threats and challenges, taking targeted and coordinated action to conserve the species. Check out the workshop process document for more information on what was discussed at the workshop.

The information gathered at these discussions led to the development of a species action plan (addendum 1 to the plan, highlighting the timeline of the specified actions) which will serve as a guiding document to inform stakeholders on the actions to take to effectively conserve the species over the next five to 10 years.

Overall, further support through collaborations, resources and funding will be critical to the implementation and success of the activities outlined in the plan. Below we highlight more information about Q. boyntonii. For more information on how to get involved/support these efforts, please contact the GCCO Coordinator and Species Action Plan Manager.


Species Overview/Current Conservation Work:

Do you know Qboy?

Quercus boyntonii (Qboy), commonly known as Boynton’s Oak or Alabama Sandstone Oak, is a rare tree reported from a six-county range in central Alabama. The APGA/USFS Tree Gene Conservation Partnership 2020 Collecting Trip Report for Qboy outlines the most up to date information on the species native populations. It is listed as an S1G1 species, through NatureServe, indicating the highest level of conservation need at a state and global level. Throughout its restricted range, occurrences of Qboy are small, geographically isolated, and declining. Seed or acorn production is often low and may be influenced by the species tendency to clone itself in the localities with extremely small population size. This leads to the risk of inbreeding depression which causes the population to have low genetic variation, so they have less adaptive traits within the population, which overall affects their health and survival, long-term. Additional threats to the species include woody encroachment due to fire suppression in its habitat, invasive plant species competition, degraded habitat from land use changes, drought, and climate change.

Wild distribution of Qboy (2020).  Map: Patrick Thompson.  Reproduced with permission.

Q. boyntonii. Photo credit: Sean Hoban