Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Endangered trees to be planted in Edinburgh public parks

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Media captionThe scheme will help safeguard the futures of endangered trees from across the globe

Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden and the city council are to begin planting rare and endangered trees in the capital's public parks.

It is part of a joint initiative to safeguard the future of threatened species from around the world.

The Royal Botanic Garden at Inverleith in the north of Edinburgh covers more than 70 acres.

However, scientists say more space is needed if they are to expand their conservation work.

There are three other gardens at Benmore in Argyll, Dawyck in the Scottish Borders and Logan in Dumfries and Galloway.

Together they represent one of the world's largest living collections of plants.

Martin Gardner, the co-ordinator of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) International Conifer Conservation Programme, said: "We don't have enough space within the garden to represent all the threatened conifers there are in the world.

"Forty per cent of conifers are threatened and many of them are found in temperate areas, which means we can grow them here in Edinburgh."

In December, Edinburgh City Council's parks department signed a five-year agreement with the Royal Botanic Garden.

Expansion plans

The aim is to increase biodiversity in the city's parks, while conserving endangered species of tree.

David Jamieson, parks and greenspace manager at Edinburgh City Council said: "We have almost 150 parks and we hope that we'll eventually have trees from this project in almost all of them.

"Initially, we're going to focus on our gardens at Lauriston Castle, Saughton and Princes Street but we hope to expand to our other parks and maybe even our cemeteries as well."

The project will begin this week with the planting of Serbian spruce trees beneath Edinburgh Castle in Princes Street Gardens.

Over the coming years, trees from Europe, the Americas, North Africa and Japan will be planted in parks across the capital.

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