Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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The Canadian Botanical Conservation Network (CBCN)

A new botanical conservation network has been established in Canada. The Canadian Botanical Conservation Network (CBCN) is a project of Royal Botanical Gardens (Hamilton, Canada), established in March of 1995 with significant funding from partners Environment Canada (the Canadian Federal Environment Ministry) and McMaster University, Hamilton. Since that time, CBCN has also received generous support from corporate sponsors Merck Frosst Canada Inc. and Glaxo Canada Inc.


Efforts to bring a national focus to the work of botanic gardens in Canada have had a long history, and the need for a national botanic garden has been discussed since 1926. The concept of a single national garden was replaced in the early 1970s by the idea of a network of botanic gardens across the country, a natural outgrowth of the diverse regions making up Canada. A network could make efficient use of existing resources and facilities rather than investing heavily in the creation of a single large national facility.

During the development of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, Canada's response to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, it was recognized that "botanical gardens in particular should be encouraged to work together in a national ex-situ conservation program focused on native Canadian rare and endangered plants".

The Canadian Botanical Conservation Network (CBCN) has been developed due to the joint interest of botanic gardens, arboreta, governmental agencies and other partners, with the mission to aid institutions maintaining living collections of plants in Canada to realize their potential to contribute to the conservation of biological diversity.

In order to realize this mission, the objectives of CBCN are:

  • to promote the positive effects of botanic gardens, arboreta and other organizations or individuals maintaining native and exotic plants in cultivation on the conservation of endangered or rare plants, or plants that constitute an important cultural, historic or economic genetic resource;
  • to increase the participation of botanical institutions in efforts to rehabilitate habitats and exchange information to augment public understanding of the conservation of genetic resources, initiatives which contribute to the implementation of Canada's Biodiversity Strategy, and;
  • to encourage development of information systems to catalogue and utilize nationally important plant genetic resources in cultivation, provide information and advice on the availability and appropriateness of plant stock for habitat rehabilitation, and exchangeinfromation with similar international organisations, especially on rare exotic species.

The purpose of CBCN is to build partnerships that will permit plant conservation programs to succeed, even in the present tough economic times. After all, if we lose rare and precious living resources today we will have a harder time building for a prosperous future tomorrow. The following organisations have indicated interst in joining the Network or are already committed partners:

Agriculture Canada's Mordern Research Centre, Manitoba
Australian Network for Plant Conservation
Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Brickman's Botanical Gardens, Ontario
Calgary Zoological Society, Alberta
Canadian Centre for Biodiversity, Ontario
David Douglas Botanical Garden Society, British Columbia
Devonian Botanic Garden, Alberta
Environment Canada, Ontario
Glaxo Canada Inc., Ontario
Merck Frosst Canada Inc., Quebec
McMaster University, Ontario
Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, Ontario
Niagara Parks Commission, Ontario
Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario
U.S. Center for Plant Conservation, Missouri
VanDusen Botanical Garden, British Columbia