This study explores the basis for conservation action on Cariniana estrellensis (Raddi) Kuntze (Lecythidaceae), a wide-ranging forest species occurring in Brazil, notably in the gallery forests of the Cerrado region and other South American countries. It offers insight into the taxon through structured reviews of knowledge of its biology, ecology, silviculture and management. Widely scattered published reports are critically considered and efforts made to highlight and resolve contradictions and inconsistencies therein. Information about this species is scanty and scattered, particularly in respect to its biology and ecology. Because little effort has been applied to its domestication and improvement, knowledge of its silviculture and management is meagre. Gaps in current knowledge relevant for conservation are identified and steps to fill them proposed. Where in situ conservation proved to be more appropriate, recommendations are made for the location of additional protected areas. Ex situ and enrichment conservation action is highly recommended for specific parts of the range where resource losses are already so extensive that in situ measures alone are inadvisable. Provision for refining the limited management and conservation knowledge is made through highlighting priorities for study of the taxon. Finally, future action is discussed in the context of the infrastructure of the national conservation sector.