Job Purpose: To provide strategic direction to and management of the organisation’s tree conservation and ecological restoration programme.

Contract Type: Full-time

Duration: Fixed-term, one year (maternity leave cover) with potential to extend

Location: BGCI Offices, Kew, London (flexible working arrangements possible)

Remuneration: £36,000 – £42,000 dependent on level of qualifications within a broad range (experience, education, training), performance related to project and budget management, people management and other measures.

Position Summary

BGCI is seeking to appoint an experienced, committed, passionate, and self-driven candidate to lead the delivery of BGCI’s practical tree conservation programme and ecological restoration programme. The appointed person will provide oversight of programme delivery and development, including fundraising. The appointed person will also be responsible for the delivery of a range of projects, focused on tree conservation and restoration, and coordination of networks. The role will involve managing staff at Assistant Officer, Officer and Manager levels.

About BGCI

There are an estimated 3,000 botanic gardens and arboreta in the world attracting 750 million visitors each year. Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is at the centre of this network. Our members include the largest, most renowned botanical institutions on the planet – Kew, New York, Missouri, Singapore, Sydney and Shanghai – and they also include many smaller botanical institutions situated in the world’s plant diversity hotspots. All of these partners share a commitment to making sure that no plant species becomes extinct, and they have a combined workforce of many thousands of horticulturists and scientists working towards that end.

BGCI’s mission is to mobilise botanical expertise and engage partners in securing plant diversity for the well-being of people and the planet. Our theory of change is that by leading, influencing, and empowering our membership and partners, we can better conserve plant diversity, encourage people to live in an environmentally sustainable way, and provide benefits for people as well as the ecology of the planet. Specifically, BGCI supports its network of specialists to carry out plant conservation prioritisation, planning, action, and monitoring, thereby preventing plant species extinctions and promoting sustainability. BGCI’s goal is that botanical organisations in our network will play a critical role in preventing plant species extinctions and creating a more sustainable planet. Our work towards achievement of the goal can be broken down into the following work streams: Saving Plants, Inspiring and Leading People, Sharing Knowledge and Resources, Addressing Global Challenges through Public Engagement and Education, and Ensuring an Effective and Resilient BGCI.

BGCI recently launched a landmark report, ‘State of the World’s Trees’, documenting the conservation status of the world’s 60,000 tree species. This report indicated that 30% of the world’s tree species are at risk of extinction. BGCI also leads a programme of practical work on threatened tree species, including coordinating action for specific taxonomic groups of trees via Global Conservation Consortia and working with partners on the ground to design and deliver projects for threatened tree species. BGCI is also actively working to improve the biodiversity outcomes of ecological restoration, by coordinating the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens, developing the Global Biodiversity Standard and developing a range of practical restoration projects with partners.

BGCI’s Africa programme has a strong focus on ecological restoration and tree conservation, and BGCI Africa has been a registered company in Kenya since 2017.

Detailed Position Description

The Head of Tree Conservation will be responsible for:

1. Supporting the development of BGCI’s Global Biodiversity Standard
Support the development of BGCI’s Global Biodiversity Standard, particularly:

  • Liaison with technical partners and partners in Africa
  • Coordinating activities involving the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens (ERA) and the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)
  • Co-developing ecological restoration capacity building information with partners

2. Managing BGCI’s role in developing a native seed supply project in Africa
BGCI is working with the World Agroforestry Centre and other partners to develop a project to supply high-quality planting material of native tree species for landscape restoration in Sub Saharan Africa. Activities will include:

  • Development of BGCI’s component of the full project proposal (2023 – 2026) and planning
  • Stakeholder consultation with the botanic garden/arboreta, ecological restoration and plant conservation communities
  • Join country missions for meetings with political partners, Tree Seed Centres and relevant actors and institutions
  • Identification of priority intervention areas
  • Development of terms of reference for the cooperation with subcontracted partners

3. Management of BGCI’s practical tree conservation programme
BGCI manages a wide range of practical tree conservation projects with partners around the world. Activities will include:

  • Provide support and coordination to BGCI’s practical tree conservation team
  • Support coordination of Global Conservation Consortia for selected taxonomic groups
  • Ensure reporting data from practical projects is collated to report to funders and on annual KPIs
  • Fundraise to expand BGCI’s portfolio of practical tree conservation projects
  • Co-manage current portfolio of tree conservation and forest restoration projects in Africa with the BGCI Africa team

4. Supporting wider BGCI activities

  • Be an active member of BGCI’s Senior Management Team
  • Participate in BGCI task forces, including on training

5. Managing staff members
Including Project Managers, Conservation Officers, Assistant Conservation Officers and appointed consultants working on the above projects.

Person Specification

Candidates for this post will have a proven record of accomplishment working for a conservation or scientific organisation, preferably in plant conservation. The post holder will have strong organisational and strategic skills, expertise managing biodiversity data, and intimate knowledge of the data and support needs of conservation planners and practitioners.


  • Substantial experience working in the environmental and/or conservation sectors
  • Experience of project and programme planning and implementation
  • Significant experience of training and capacity building in a conservation context
  • Strong management experience including overseeing programme development, motivating and developing staff, developing organisational culture and responding to complex staffing issues with empathy, fairness, consistency and appropriate confidentiality
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work robustly within challenging and unpredictable environments, to troubleshoot and problem-solve difficult situations calmly and effectively, and manage risk, recognising potential impact of decisions across all parts of the organisation
  • Proven experience of setting, overseeing and working to targets, budgets, and deadlines
  • Ability to manage own time and workload efficiently, prioritise and meet tight deadlines and work in a fast paced and rapidly changing environment
  • Experience of development and fundraising from a variety of sources (e.g. government, trusts and foundations, philanthropy)
  • Experience of meeting and liaising with government representatives internationally


  • Experience working in plant conservation
  • Experience of working within a membership organisation

Application Process

Interested applicants should submit a CV and a cover letter of two pages’ maximum, explaining the candidate’s motivation and providing concrete evidence of why they are suitable for the position.

Please send your CV and cover letter to info@bgci.org by 7th August 2022.

BGCI is committed to putting equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our organisation. We are committed to ensuring a working environment in which all individuals are free from discrimination and in which opportunities are equal to all. We encourage applications from all sections of the community, particularly those underrepresented within our sector.