The IUCN/SSC Cycad ACtion Plan brings together the best available information on this ancient and fascinating group of plants. Cycads were a dominant part of the earth's flora during the age of the dinosaurs and many species were common even in more recent times. However, many of the 297 species and subspecies dealt with in the Cycad Action Plan have been badly affected by habitat destruction and plant collecting within the last century. As a result, more than half the known species are now classified as threatened, and the cycads stand out as one of the most threatened groups of plants in this world.The Action Plan provides an overview of all the cycads and the threats to their survival. This is followed by separate assessments for the four broad regions where cycads now occur, namely Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, Australia, Asia, and the New World. Trade in cycads has had a substantial impact on wild cycad populations and there is a separate chapter on trade and the effectiveness of control measures such as CITES. In addition, with so many species facing extinction in the wild, garden collections have become increasingly important and we have assessed the global status of cycad collections.Finally, the Cycad Action Plan presents a set of objectives and actions to reduce the threat to cycads in the wild and to provide ex situ conservation for those that almost certainly will become extinct in the wild. Wherever possible, we have tried to identify and build on innovative projects, such as community-based nurseries, and to link cycad consideration with other global and local initiatives such as the conservation of biodiversity hotspots.