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Project information

iCONic: saving conifers from extinction

The iCONic Project (Internationally threatened CONifers In our Care) has been established to help save some of the world’s most threatened conifers, by collecting seeds and creating safe-havens for young trees in the forests, gardens and estates of Perthshire, Big Tree Country.

planting a new legacy for Scotland

Charity information: iCONic at The Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust

iCONic at The Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust logo
  • Need


    One third of the world's forest cover consists of conifers and around one third of the 600 conifer species face potential extinction in the wild. iCONic is a globally important mission to protect some of the world's most remarkable trees, for the benefit of future generations and for the sake of our natural environment.


    The iCONic Project, which brings together the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Forestry Commission Scotland and Perthshire Big Tree Country in a long-term mission to save some 20 'flagship' species of threatened conifers, by creating conservation plantings in Perthshire, right at the heart of Scotland.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Conservation of 20 'flagship' species of globally threatened confiers.


    » Seed collection on international expeditions, growing on and planting trees across Perthshire. Creating living 'gene banks' of threatened species.

    What success will look like

    By 2022, iCONic will sucesfully plant and establish 10,000 trees in Perthshire, covering the full range of the project's 20 target species.

  • Impact


    iCONic is the modern-day story of plant collecting. It's longevity and legacy will last well beyond the expectations of a human lifetime: iCONic is planting the future. Success will be the achievement of strong 'ex-situ' conservation plantings in Scotland, as well as the delivery of a range of partnership initiatives to protect habitats and biodiversity worldwide.


    iCONic is strongly supported by its project delivery partners, including The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and the world-leading expertise of it's International Conifer Conservation Project (now in its 23rd year). The greatest risk to the project not achieveing its full potential is funding. Your support really does matter! The cost of supporting one tree's journey, from collection on expedition to mature growth, or 'from seed to seed', is £100.


    All supporters of the project will receive regular newsleter updates, and the opportunity to attend related events and activities, either directly with iCONic, or within the wider Perthshire Big Tree Country initiative.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £800,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £800,000 total project costs until 2022 see a breakdown of this total by visiting
  • Background


    Based in Scotland, but working internationally, iCONic is rooted in Perthshire, Big Tree Country. Perthshire's cold winters, cool summers, high rainfall, fertile soils and good air-quality, coupled with enlightened land management policies maintained by modern-day stewards like The Forestry Commmission, create optimum and sustainable growing conditions for conifers from across the temperate world. These combine to give the region's forests and estates a vital leading role in global conservation.


    iCONic is an opportunity to educate new audiences about the global threats to trees, forests and wider biodiversity. iCONic harnesses the leadership of Big Tree Country and other key partners to deliver its vision of 'planting for the future', not only ensuring that future generations in Scotland can enjoy our magnificent landscapes, but that communities around the world can also collaborate to rebuild biodiversity where it is otherwise under threat.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    iCONic is a flagship project of Perthshire Big Tree Country, managed by the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust. The Trust works in partnership to develop and deliver world-leading, locally rooted projects that provide and improve access to the countryside for all - and that celebrate and promote the region's very great natural heritage and legacy. It's key partners include Perth & Kinross Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Enterprise, the Gannochy Trust and Forestry Commission Scotland.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tom Christian

    iCONic Project Officer