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Conservation horticulture of magnolias


 Ecuador is country of high plant diversity and continues to make headlines concerning new species discoveries. Of the 18,198 vascular plants currently known, 17,748 are native, of which some 4,500 are endemic species. The majority of these species are threatened by various change agents of the natural environment, such as infrastructure development, overexploitation of natural resources and pollution (Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2014).

Ecuador is a particularly striking example of new magnolia species discoveries. To date, 23 species have been identified, four times more than those known five years ago (Pérez et al., 2016). However, as in other areas of high magnolia diversity, increased deforestation, logging, habitat destruction and limited reproduction in the wild pose a major threat to the species’ survival. 12 of the Ecuadorian magnolias assessed have been evaluated as threatened (The Red List of Magnoliaceae, 2016).

To date, hardly any of the Ecuadorian magnolias have been successfully propagated or cultivated in ex situ collections. Most of the species are known from very few populations and few individuals in the wild, often with poor reproduction. Although some are found in private or public protected areas and reserves, the long-term viability of most Ecuadorian magnolias presently is not secured.

There is a need for more training in essential and advanced horticultural approaches and techniques for native Ecuadorian magnolias to enhance propagation success and ex situ cultivation. This will benefit the establishment of conservation collections and in situ recovery programmes.

 Course goal

In collaboration with Eduardo Calderón Sáenz from Reserva Natural ‘El Refugio’, Dagua, Colombia, BGCI and JBQ are facilitating a two-day capacity building course in magnolia propagation techniques. Hosted by JBQ, the training is aimed at strengthening knowledge and practical know-how fundamental to the future development of native magnolia conservation collections in botanic gardens in Ecuador.

 Target audience

The training is primarily aimed at botanic garden staff in Ecuador responsible for horticulture and other interested personnel. In addition, representatives from other Ecuadorian institutions (government, non-government and private) working in horticulture are also welcome to attend.

A nominal course fee of USD 50.– will be charged to participate in the training.

 General programme outline

Over the two days, the training will combine theoretical sessions and demonstrations by the trainer, and practicals during which participants apply methods and techniques:

  1. Module 1: General morphological aspects of magnolias of relevance for propagation.
  2. Module 2: Propagation material collection in the field – general guidelines, best time of the year if applicable, handling of seeds and cuttings following collection, storage, etc.
  3. Module 3: Propagation methods – seed, vegetative, grafting (if applicable), other – incl. soil media, light and water conditions, rooting media, etc.
  4. Module 4: Establishment/planting out – when/age, soil/shade/sun requirements, other aftercare requirements.

At the end of the course, a short assessment will be carried out as to how the course goal has been achieved.

Provisional schedule (times and sequence of sessions may change)


Tuesday, 28 November 2017
08:30 – 08:45 Welcome Carolina Jijón Director, Jardín Botánico de Quito
08:45 – 09:15 Course background, conservation horticulture Joachim Gratzfeld Director, BGCI

‘Regional Programmes’

09:15 – 09:45 Overview of Ecuadorian magnolias Lou Jost Fundación EcoMinga
09:45 – 10:15 Morning break


10:15 – 12:30 Magnolia propagation techniques – M1 and M2 Eduardo Calderón Sáenz Reserva Natural ‘El Refugio’, Dagua, Colombia
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break


14:00 – 16:00 Magnolia propagation techniques – M3 Eduardo Calderón Sáenz
16:00 – 16:30 Afternoon break


16:30 – 18:00 Visit of JBQ propagation facilities JBQ staff
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
08:30 – 10:00 Magnolia propagation techniques – M3 cont. Eduardo Calderón Sáenz
10:00 – 10:30 Morning break


10:30 – 12:30


Magnolia propagation techniques – M4 Eduardo Calderón Sáenz
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break


14:00 – 16:00 Magnolia propagation techniques – M4 cont. Eduardo Calderón Sáenz
16:00 – 16:30 Afternoon break


16:30 – 18:00 Wrapping up, questions, brief course evaluation All