Conservationists choose their 12 trees of Christmas
Conservationists are unveiling their 12 trees of Christmas, in a bid to highlight the plight facing some of the world's threatened conifers.
As decorated trees take centre-stage in many homes over the festive period, tree experts hope the campaign will raise awareness of at-risk species.
About one third of the world's species of conifers are deemed to be threatened with extinction unless action is taken.
The social media event is being run by the Global Trees Campaign.
On each of the 12 days until Christmas Eve on 24 December, the Global Trees Campaign - a partnership between Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) - is publishing details of a threatened tree species on social media.
"Given that it is Christmas and everyone is bringing conifers into their houses, we thought that it was good to highlight some of the other conifer species that are not doing so well at the moment," explained Emily Beech, BGCI conservation assistant.
The development of the global trade in plants, and the demand over the centuries from wealthy families to plant exotic tree species on their land, means that 80% of the conifers listed as threatened are found in collections around the world.
However, these "ex situ" specimens are unlikely to be enough to ensure the long-term survival of these species.
"The problem is that a lot of the specimens that are in botanical gardens or are in people's back gardens do not have the genetic range; they are sourced from the same trees," Ms Beech told BBC News.
"As they do not have the genetic diversity, they cannot be reintroduced back into the wild. So if they disappear then there will be limited genetic resources to put them back again."
Improving the genetic diversity of conifer specimens and collections in botanical garden, as well as protecting populations of threatened species within their natural range, is part of the work being carried out by the Global Trees Campaign, said Ms Beech.