About GlobalTreeSearch

GlobalTreeSearch is the most comprehensive list of tree species and their country-level distributions. The database is the result of over two years of work to gather both tree species names and their country level distributions. Our intention is for GlobalTreeSearch to be used as a tool for monitoring and managing tree species diversity, forests and carbon stocks on a global, regional or national level. It will also be used as the basis of the Global Tree Assessment, coordinated by BGCI and the IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist Group (GTSG), which aims to undertake conservation assessments for all of the world’s tree species by 2020. GlobalTreeSearch enables a gap analysis to be performed, to identify where conservation assessments are lacking.

The production of GlobalTreeSearch has involved collaboration with very many organisations and individuals as well as the consultation of many sources. A full list of contributors and sources can be found here.

Tree Definition

GlobalTreeSearch uses the tree definition agreed on by IUCN’s Global Tree Specialist Group (GTSG): a woody plant with usually a single stem growing to a height of at least two metres, or if multi-stemmed, then at least one vertical stem five centimetres in diameter at breast height.

Some plant species have variable lifeforms, but all species that are recorded as naturally growing as a tree somewhere have been included, with the reference cited.


The taxonomic concepts of GlobalTreeSearch follow the World Checklist for Selected Plant Families (WCSP) for its published families. Families that are not included in WCSP, follow The Plant List (TPL 2013). Other regional sources (Euro+Med, Reflora) and taxonomic sources (e.g. ILDIS) have been consulted when required.

As The Plant List was last updated in May 2012, any species published since then have been provisionally accepted on our list unless found to be in synonymy from other more recently published sources, such as in a published monograph. The source of the taxonomic status is recorded, allowing for updates as taxonomic opinion evolves.

Distribution information

Distribution information was recorded following the ISO 3166 country names standard. Distribution information has been recorded to country level for all taxa, with distribution in several countries (Brazil, United States, South Africa, Australia and China) recorded to state or province.


GlobalTreeSearch was sent out for review to over 30 experts to identify missing taxa or non-trees and also to review distribution information.

Any unresolved comments are recorded, as well as the reason for uncertainty about a species (Life form, Geography and Taxonomy).


The GlobalTreeSearch database is subject to regular updates; to suggest changes to the GlobalTreeSearch database please contact: globaltreesearch@bgci.org.


Please cite any use of GlobalTreeSearch data as:

        BGCI. [YEAR ACCESSED]. GlobalTreeSearch online database.
        Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Richmond, UK.
        Available at www.bgci.org/globaltree_search.php
        Accessed on (DD/MM/YYYY).


More information about the methodology and results of GlobalTreeSearch were published in 2017 in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry. Citation: Beech, E., Rivers, M., Oldfield, S., & Smith, P. P. (2017). GlobalTreeSearch: the first complete global database of tree species and country distributions. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 1-36.