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Mission and History


The mission of ArbNet is to foster the establishment and professionalism of arboreta; identify arboreta capable of participating or collaborating in certain scientific, collections, or conservation activity; and advance the planting and conservation of trees. To fulfill its mission, ArbNet provides:

  • Helpful resources to improve operations, research, conservation, education.
  • Arboretum-focused news and events.
  • The opportunity to connect with other arboreta to collaborate with in scientific, collections, and conservation activities.
  • A broad network to help advance the planting, care, and conservation of trees.
  • An online forum for tree-focused discussions.


In April 2011, The Morton Arboretum launched ArbNet and, an interactive community of arboreta that is designed to support the common purposes and interests of tree-focused public gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program which establishes specific standards of professional practice and offers four levels of accreditation. In tandem, we created the Morton Register of Arboreta – a list and database of arboreta and other public gardens that have a substantial focus on woody plants.

Since its inception, ArbNet has accredited over 500 arboreta, across 37 countries. Through collaboration with partners, ArbNet has progressed on several of its goals like working with BGCI to accredit international arboreta, launching a BGCI/ArbNet Partnership Program along with establishing grants within these partnerships, offering a Capacity Building Grant in 2016 and supporting the American Chestnut Foundation in an effort to replenish the nearly extinct tree by re-establishing a disease-resistant hybrid in its native Appalachian region.

“Individuals and organizations have long sought definitions, standards, and means of establishing an official or legitimate arboretum,” according to Dr. Gerard T. Donnelly, President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum, which sponsors and coordinates ArbNet.  “No other national or international program of accreditation exists that is specific to arboreta,” he said.