Guys! This is exciting!! For the first time in 3 decades, seeds of the very endangered Japanese Birch tree have been germinated by scientists! There were only 21 specimens left in a remote area in some mountains near Tokyo, but when a group of scientists hiked there to study the trees, they found seeds on the trees. They collected about 1000, and 100 of them have germinated. The scientists are learning how to grow them so they can reintroduce them into their habitat and aid them in surviving.
Japanese Birch is under threat from deforestation and habitat degradation. It is also vulnerable to natural disaster or disease because of its restricted distribution and small population sizes. This species has no closely related living relatives and is considered a relic species (a remnant of a previously widely occurring, diverse population).