Report on the Fifth International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress held in Cape Town, South Africa
Peter S. Wyse Jackson
Botanic Gardens Conservation International
From the 14th to the 18th September 1998 the Fifth International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress took place in Cape Town, South Africa. It was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on the northern slopes of Table Mountain. It was co-organized by BGCI and the National Botanical Institute of South Africa (NBI) and hosted by NBI.
The theme of the congress was Plants, People and Planet Earth - the role of botanical gardens in sustainable living. The aim of the congress was to review the priorities for botanic gardens as centres for biodiversity conservation and the promotion of environmental sustainability. The congress supported the development of a renewed global strategy for botanic gardens in the 21st century and highlight shared responsibilities and their common mission.
The Congress was a very great success and was attended by over 400 participants from 55 countries. For all those involved in the congress, the meeting and their visit to South Africa was a memorable, worthwhile and extremely enjoyable experience. Many advances were achieved through the meeting, particularly in defining future botanic garden roles in conservation and education, enhancing linkages between botanic garden staff and institutions worldwide and in helping to set priorities for future actions by the international botanic gardens community. The organizers were also grateful to have the participation of the following organizations:
- American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta
- Associación Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Jardines Botánicos
- International Association of Botanic Gardens
- IUCN - The World Conservation Union
- World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF-International
- Asociación Argentinos de Jardines Botánicos
- Asociación Ibero-Macaronesian de Jardines Botánicos
- Asociación Mexicana de Jardines Botánicos
- Association des Jardins Botaniques et Arboreta de Belgique
- Australian Network for Plant Conservation
- Baltic Botanic Garden Association
- BGCI/IABG European Botanic Gardens Consortium
- Botanic Garden Education Network, U.K.
- Canadian Botanical Conservation Network
- Center for Plant Conservation (U.S.A.)
- Council of Botanical Gardens of Russia
- Council of Botanical Gardens of Ukraine
- Indonesian Network for Plant Conservation
- International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
- Jardins Botaniques de France et des Pays Francophones
- PlantNet - the Plant Collections Network of Britain & Ireland
- Rede Brasileira de Jardins Botânicos
- Red Nacional de Jardines Botánicos de Colombia
- Red Nacional de Jardines Botánicos de Cuba
- Società Botanica Italiana - Grupo Orti Botanici
- Southern African Botanical Diversity Network
- Verband Botanischer Gärten e.V.
The organizers would like to acknowledge the support of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, The British Council, British Airways, the National Botanical Institute, South Africa and Old Mutual, to whom we are very grateful.
The local organizing committee was chaired by Prof. Brian J. Huntley (Chief Executive of NBI) who ensured that all arrangements were made with the greatest possible efficiency. The congress participants were extremely well looked after from the moment they registered for the Congress to the time they returned home through the attention to detail of the local team, which included Fiona McKay and Diane Stafford, ably assisted by Ingrid Nanni, George Davis, David Davidson, Cheryl Gibson, Mike O'Callaghan, Ben Engelbrecht and many other staff of NBI.
The development of the scientific programme for the Congress was led by Peter Wyse Jackson, Brian Huntley, George Davis, Fiona Dennis, Julia Willison and Ally Ashwell, with the support of an international programme committee that provided much useful advise and suggestions. Abstracts of presentations given were compiled by George Davis and Fiona Dennis and published as a booklet available to all delegates.
During the Congress a meeting of the Trustees of BGCI was held attended by Sir John Quinton, (Chairman), Dr David Bramwell, Mr Anthony Forbes, Prof Ole Hamann, Sir Ghillean T. Prance, M. Philippe Richard, Dr Roy Taylor and Ms Judith Zuk.
BGCI staff was represented at the Congress by Peter Wyse Jackson, Diane Wyse Jackson, Fiona Dennis, Etelka Leadlay, Julia Willison, Lucy Sutherland and Donald Gordon and supported by Barbara Bridge and Vivien Isaac at BGCI's London offices. BGCI staff from regional divisions or projects were Dr Bert van den Wollenberg (BGCI Dutch Regional Office), Dr Igor Smirnov (Chairman of BGCI Moscow Division) and Isabelle Bagdassarin (BGCI/FFI North Africa Project Coordinator).
During the Congress delegates were able to participate in important events marking the opening of new buildings and facilities at the Kirstenbosch Garden, including the Kirstenbosch Visitors' Centre, opened by Dr Pallo Jordon, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Kirstenbosch Research Centre, opened by Dr Peter Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis, U.S.A. As part of the opening of the Kirstenbosch Research Centre there were displays and demonstrations of current research at the Garden on conservation biology, applied horticulture, impacts of global climate change, and the evolution and systematics of the Cape flora. The Open House was followed by dinner and guest lecture given by Dr Peter Raven, entitled Botanic Gardens: Challenges for the new Millennium.
At the end of the congress a Farewell Banquet was held in the vast marquee erected for the congress. At the banquet speeches of thanks were given by Prof. Brian Huntley and Dr Peter Wyse Jackson and presentations were made by BGCI to Brian Huntley, Diane Stafford, Fiona McKay and George Davis for their outstanding contribution.
Pre and Post congress tours were made to the Garden Route and the Western Cape. Mid-congress tours varied from the Cape Peninsula National Park, the West Coast National Park and the Karoo and Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens which allowed the delegates to see plants in their native habitats and a Cape wineland tour and urban conservation in the Cape.
The success of the Congress can be summed up by David Bramwell (Director, Jardín Canario "Viera y Clavijo", Gran Canaria, Spain and BGCI Trustee) in the recent issue of Plant Talk (Issue 15, October 1998):
"I left Cape Town with a strong sense that, thanks to the efforts of BGCI and its members, botanic gardens have at last taken up the mantle of conservation. The long-sought and seamless union of on site and off site conservation, forged by the horticultural skills, conservation science facilities and education programmes offered by botanic gardens has become a reality. Botanic Gardens have exciting days ahead in the next Millenium".
The opening ceremony was performed by Dr Pallo Jordan, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and was addressed by Prof. Colin Johnson, Chairman of the Board of the National Botanical Institute and Sir John Quinton, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
An introductory address was given by Dr Peter Wyse Jackson (Secretary General of BGCI) who outlined the recent advances and major activities of botanic gardens worldwide in recent years, since the Congress last met in Western Australia in 1995. He also launched and introduced participants to a new process to prepare a revision of The Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy (1989). Dr Wyse Jackson proposed that this new Strategy will be an action-orientated document, entitled An International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation. He invited botanic gardens and their network organizations to contribute to the preparation of the new plan and to increase their work for and to achieve global plant conservation.
This was followed by a keynote plenary addressed by Dr Kingsley Dixon of Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Perth, Australia. Kingsley Dixon spoke on the subject of the frontiers of plant science and their relevance to botanic gardens. The other keynote plenary speakers were Dr Cristián Samper (Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, Colombia), Ms Ellen Kirby (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, U.S.A), Ms Stella Simiyu (National Museums of Kenya), Dr Angela Leiva (Jardín Botánico Nacional, Cuba) and Dr Roy Taylor (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, U.S.A.). On the final day of the Congress additional keynote papers were delivered by Prof. Sir Ghillean T. Prance (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.), Prof. Brian Huntley (NBI) and Xola Mkefe (Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, South Africa).
During the five days of the Congress plenary sessions were held on the first and last days, with two days of simultaneous workshops as well as a full day of local field trips. The workshops were held on a diverse range of subjects covering seven themes - Conservation Practice, Policies and Conventions, Garden Management and Horticulture, Science and Research, Education, Capacity Buildiing and Medicinal Plants. Thus there was a choice of five workshops running concurrently on each of the two days. An additional session for network meetings was held. There was also an extensive programme of poster papers coordinated by George Davis.
During the workshops, participants were asked to develop conclusions and recommendations as a contribution towards the new International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation. This is due to be completed and launched at the Sixth International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress in Asheville in the year 2000. The conclusions and recommendations have been compiled under the 31 topics for the seven themes and are included in this report. These conclusions were presented on the final day of the Congress in a plenary session where comments and discussion points were invited from participants.
During and after the Congress several satellite meetings were held. A meeting of the Project Group on Material Transfer Policies, led by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, met at the Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens after the meeting. A meeting of the members of the BGCI/IABG European Botanic Gardens Consortium was also held. Following the Congress, the Plants Subcommittee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission who also attended the meeting met for two days in Hermanus. An Education Training Course for Botanic Gardens in Africa was held after the Congress at the Kirstenbosch Gardens, sponsored by the British Council and organized by Ally Ashwell (NBI) and Julia Willison (BGCI). Delegates attended it from botanic gardens in 14 countries.
Workshop Conclusions and Recommendations
THEME A: CONSERVATION PRACTICE
1. Species Recovery Programmes
Convenors: John Donaldson (South Africa) and Stephen Hopper (Australia)
- Botanic gardens must integrate their activities with those of other organizations, communities and amateur bodies to build co-operative species recovery programmes.
- In their strategic plans, botanic gardens must take species recovery seriously because it impacts on the type of collections that are built up, data quality, resource allocation, and the focus of horticultural skills and science programmes.
- As part of a consultative process, botanic gardens need to set priorities for which taxa and restoration projects they will undertake. These will vary from garden to garden and will be driven by community values and needs.
- BGCI should set up a vocabulary and protocol for species recovery.
2. Conservation genetics
Convenor: Kingsley Dixon (Australia)
- There is a need to facilitate a network of "centres with capacity" for genetic testing in botanic gardens.
- There is a need for the promotion of key centres with capacity for conservation genetics to provide a cost effective molecular evaluation "service" for other botanic gardens.
- Priorities are required for how and when to use molecular markers for genetic screening.
- DNA samples should be an integral component of the herbarium vouchering process (these can be cheaply and effectively stored as leaf samples in silica gel).
3. Habitat management and restoration
Convenor: Robert Marrs (U.K.)
- The participants recognize two complementary disciplines Habitat Management (preservation of existing biodiversity) and the Restoration Ecology (restitution of biodiversity) and there is a need to look at functioning ecosystems.
- Botanic gardens can provide some of the expertise for Habitat Management and Restoration Ecology, but need to link with other professionals - restoration ecologists/conservation biologists and non-garden bodies such as land managers and in situ conservationists and should not be afraid to be experimental.
- Botanic gardens with access to the existing habitats (on/off site) can use these constructively to develop methods, which can be used as showcases for demonstrations and/or publicity and education.
- Methods of evaluations need to be developed; these must be long-term with set targets, measurements of success/failure and taking space/time into account.
- Botanic gardens must been seen to be truly professional bodies if they are to be taken seriously and must show results to policy makers and base advice on sound science. Botanic gardens must publish in appropriate journals.
4. Botanic gardens and genetic resources
Convenor: Robert Bye (Mexico)
- The participants agreed that there is a need to define the role of botanic gardens in the development and commercialization of native plants.
- There is a need to make compatible objectives, methodologies, expected results and evaluations in botanic garden research.
- Local populations of people should provide inputs such as identification of needs, provision of plant material and related information and expected results and forms of collaboration.
- There is a need to clarify the nature and the effects of intensive use and commercialization of wild plant resources, such as benefit-sharing provisions, collecting consequences and cultivation.
- There is a need to define the role and relationships between botanic gardens and industry in terms of education and marketing.
5. Genebanks in botanic gardens
Convenor: Brigitte Laliberté (IPGRI)
- To encourage greater collaboration between organizations concerned with the conservation of plant genetic resources in gene banks particularly with the agricultural research sector. A good model is that between CPC and USDA in the U.S.A.
- To seek agreements on germplasm conservation standards between botanic gardens and agricultural genebanks.
- For BGCI to encourage and facilitate the establishment of genebanks in areas of high botanical diversity through an adequate process of consultation between all stake holders.
- To encourage genebanks in botanic gardens to closely follow the terms and conditions as set out by the CBD and the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for the conservation, exchange and use of germplasm.
- To facilitate and foster international collaboration between botanic garden and agricultural genebanks; the existing regional and international networks should play and important role.
6. Network Development and Collaboration
Convenor: Brien Meilleur (U.S.A.), Edelmira Linares (Mexico) and Jeanette Mill (Australia)
Network meetings Recommendations from the Network meeting and the North American, Australian, Russian and Latin American Working Group were as follows:
- BGCI should seek to ensure that network organizations are actively involved in the development of a revision of the proposed International Agenda for Botanic Gardens.
- BGCI should facilitate the identification/creation of a coordinating group for this undertaking, with objectives, tasks and timelines.
- BGCI should work with this coordinating body to develop the concept of twinning among networks from better developed and less developed countries/regions.
- BGCI should explore its options for integrating the new International Agenda for Botanic Gardens development process, and the "Agenda" itself, with established networks in the other major sectors involved in conservation (research, education, restoration, in situ conservation) to ensure maximum relevancy of the BGCI document.
- BGCI should strongly encourage network creation and networking generally in the "Agenda".
- BGCI should create with assistance from the network coordinating group and the network participants, a directory of existing networks and send it to networks and Botanical Gardens along with a survey asking for information on "other" network assistance and recommendations for where networks need to be created.
- BGCI should encourage networks to create a Clearing House Database containing information in conservation, research, taxonomy, education, bio-geography and restoration activities on the rare plants of their regions and make that information readily available.
African Network Group recommended that:
- BGCI seek to redevelop an African focus, including an "African Botanic Gardens Newsletter".
- BGCI to endeavour to open a regional African office to serve as the African focal point for botanic gardens. Different types of networks and partnerships also to be considered e.g. links with IUCN Arabian Plant Specialist Group Programme.
- BGCI to facilitate support through fund-raising for African botanic garden representatives to attend 6th BGCI Congress in North Carolina and ensure their full participation
- BGCI to conduct a survey of e-mail/internet facilities in African botanic gardens in order to promote communication and networking.
- The international botanic garden community to support the development and implementation of capacity building programmes in African botanic gardens and for them to be held in country.
- BGCI to conduct a survey of botanic gardens in developed countries holding African flora to identify and determine expertise in the cultivation and propagation of specific African plant taxa/groups.
European Networks Meeting
- That all European networks lobby their MEP's (Member of European Parliament) to ensure that the resolution by the EU recognizing the value of Botanic Gardens is acted upon.
- That key contact persons of the European Networks present at the meeting should maintain communication and that the EU Botanic Gardens Consortium would for the time being co-ordinate this activity.
- That a subset of the European Network be created for Mediterranean countries, including Israel and North Africa. Botanic Gardens can be members of several networks e.g. the North African subset of the European Network and the African Network.
THEME B: POLICIES AND CONVENTIONS
1. The Convention on Biological Diversity
Convenor: Peter Wyse Jackson (BGCI, U.K.)
- Botanic gardens are vitally important in the implementation of the CBD and must accept new responsibilities and the challenges posed.
- Botanic gardens should play a major role in influencing and contributing to the mechanisms of the Convention itself, including contribute to COP meetings and SBSTTA.
- It is important to develop integrated institutional policies on CBD, including the preparation of CBD audits and the full involvement of staff in implementation.
- There is a need to harmonize policies internationally and nationally and strengthen collaboration, as an aid to setting priorities.
- It is important to establish baseline information and from this, create appropriate action plans to implement the CBD through botanic gardens.
2. Material Transfer Policies
Convenor: Kerry ten Kate (U.K.)
The workshop recommended that botanic gardens should promote/influence national policy makers to draw to the attention of those countries developing access regulations the need to distinguish between the access procedure and benefit-sharing requirements for scientific research and those for commercial use.
Recommended that a guide to access and benefit-sharing and material transfer policy be produced and disseminated to botanic gardens.
Recommended that botanic gardens should proactively develop and adopt an institutional policy on access, benefit-sharing and material transfer agreements.
Recommended that botanic gardens should work together to harmonize their policies on access and benefit sharing and their material transfer agreements.
Recommended that botanic gardens should communicate their policies and practices on access and benefit-sharing to other relevant sectors such as government, private industry, the scientific community and NGOs.
Convenor: Michael Kiehn (Austria)
- An updated edition of the BGCI A CITES Manual for Botanic Gardens is urgently needed and highly recommended.
- Botanic gardens should train their staff more thoroughly regarding CITES issues.
- Botanic garden networks should help to disseminate relevant CITES information. BGCI could contribute by including a column entitled "CITES News" in the BGCI Newsletter.
- Botanic gardens should actively strengthen links to their national and regional CITES representatives. In order to facilitate this, BGCI is requested to provide a CITES Authorities Directory to their members.
- The 6th BGCI Congress Organizing Committee should invite the US CITES Management and Scientific Authorities to participate in a CITES workshop at this Congress. Also, a training workshop should be considered (possibly through APHIS).
- Botanic gardens can seek (and obtain) additional funding for projects on CITES plants (e.g. providing identification tools for national customs purposes or creating a CD-ROM on CITES including lists and images), or when acting as rescue centres for seized and confiscated plants (with clear regulations regarding reimbursement). 7. The recognition of the scientific role of botanic gardens by national CITES (but also other governmental) authorities increases when they use expertise or training courses actively offered by botanic gardens.
THEME C: GARDEN MANAGEMENT AND HORTICULTURE
1. Developing botanic gardens
Convenor: Etelka Leadlay (BGCI, U.K.)
- A common theme for the development of all gardens whether new or old is a strong sense of mission.
- Wide consultation with all sections of the community underpins the successful development of all botanic gardens.
- Cooperation and collaboration at the national, regional and international levels with other gardens, botanical institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are important for developing the role of the garden within an integrated national strategy.
- Well-trained and experienced staff resources are one of the most important factors in the development of a botanic garden.
- Working with networks is essential; members of networks provide information and can evaluate the proposals.
2. Garden Design
Convenor: Judith Evans-Parker (U.S.A.)
- Botanic gardens must protect the history of botanic garden traditions throughout the world by innovative conservation of botanic garden sites important as cultural centres e.g. Padua.
- Botanic gardens must encourage linkages between gardens and organic development of botanic gardens in forms specific to their respective sites, culture and time.
- Designs focused on sustainability and the biological diversity underlying it should be encouraged as a model.
- Botanic garden design should allow for fluid and dynamic development in their plans.
- Botanic gardens must continue to present their message through an aesthetic form based on design which lifts the spirit.
- The needs of new botanic gardens are quite different from established sites. BGCI should consider creating a 'New Gardens Forum'.
3. Maintaining Botanic Gardens
Convenor: Stephen Forbes (Australia)
- Maintenance planning supports the collections policy and facilitates effective priority setting and resource allocation. Kirstenbosch is establishing continuance programmes for collections.
- Benchmarking provides a tool for measuring the effectiveness of programmes or processes against our competitors or relevant industries. Australia has undertaken an initial profiling exercise.
- The selection of benchmarking partners and processes and the analysis of results should be mission driven - in other words, benchmarking must assist us to deliver our mission.
- New botanic gardens may be achieved through analysis of existing parks and integration of key assets to achieve a botanic garden charter as in the botanic gardens of the City of Paris.
- Resourcing reflects the motivation of the community in particular Friends groups can drive community support and facilitate resource security.
4. Labelling and interpretation
Convenors: John Roff (South Africa) and Marÿke Honig (South Africa)
- Botanic gardens should be experimental with their interpretation and be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Botanic gardens should thematically plan their interpretation.
- Botanic gardens should evaluate their interpretative material and use a variety of techniques to do this.
- A range of botanic garden staff should be involved to maximise the educational potential of theme gardens.
5. Plant Record Systems
Convenor: Kerry Walter (U.K.)
- There is no more important set of information maintained by an institution than the information about its collections.
- Biological information is inherently complex, and database systems designed to manage it must also be complex.
- Careful consideration should be given when deciding to design a collection management system in house or to adopt/adapt an existing system.
- Databases must continue to change and evolve as computer standards and user expectations change.
- Collection databases represent long-term institutional commitment.
- There is much to learn and share with colleagues in other communities e.g. museums.
6. Electronic Networking : Making the Most of the Internet
Convenors: David Galbraith (Canada), Gianni Bedini (Italy) and Igor Smirnov (Russia)
- The workshop participants recommended the establishment of a botanic gardens conservation and biodiversity Clearing House Mechanism, available on the internet and through other complementary media, in support of the renewed global strategy and delivery of the CBD. Such a Clearing House Mechanism should operate at the national and international levels. At the international level, BGCI could become the organization developing and managing the mechanism.
- BGCI should seek to link the botanic gardens conservation and biodiversity clearing house mechanism with the Clearing House Mechanism of the CBD.
- BGCI should implement a global botanic gardens directory on the web, with links to botanic gardens with sites (but note existence of Internet Directory of Botany).
- BGCI should prepare an information document for SBSTTA or for the COP on networks and on the roles of botanic garden databases in the inventory and monitoring of biological diversity.
- Individual botanic gardens should be urged to link their web sites (and contribute other information) to their respective National Biodiversity Clearing House sites.
THEME D: SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
1. Science Programmes
Convenors: Thomas Elias (U.S.A.) and John Parker (U.K.)
- Maintain systematics as a central role in botanic gardens and arboreta.
- Expand potential for maintaining genetic diversity/biodiversity in botanic gardens.
- Make greater use of ornamental plants and living collections to exemplify biodiversity.
- Increase research on plant propagation techniques, seed germination and storage.
- Promote fundamental science.
2. Strengthening Taxonomy in Botanic Gardens
Convenors: Nancy Morin (U.S.A.), Ghillean Prance (U.K.) and Gideon Smith (South Africa)
- Recognize taxonomic expertise is fundamental for plant conservation; taxonomists are essential for environmental assessment and restoration.
- Use education/interpretation specialists to help deliver taxonomic messages (i.e. know the audience, test effectiveness, make messages relevant).
- Ensure collaboration between taxonomic research unit and horticulture unit.
- Make taxonomic information available electronically and in popular forms.
- Recognize more expertise is needed. BGCI should assess current capacity for taxonomic work and gardens could use amateurs more.
- Promote taxonomic training
3. Strategies for the Control of Invasive Species
Convenors: Charles Lamoureux (Hawaii, U.S.A.) and Wendy Strahm (IUCN, Switzerland)
- A major role of botanic gardens is to publicize the invasive species problem through publications, exhibits and the world wide web.
- Botanic gardens should provide the public with alternative species for cultivation as substitutes for known invasive species.
- Botanic gardens should carefully scrutinize their seed lists to make sure that they do not contain known invasives.
- There is an urgent need for the establishment of a web-based database on known invasive species and their control, therefore we encourage the development of an early warning system being developed by the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist group. IUCN statement - invasive species are the number one threat to biodiversity.
- Botanic gardens should encourage and help with research to develop criteria that can be used to evaluate and predict the potential invasiveness of plants in their collections.
THEME E: CAPACITY BUILDING
1. Strategic Planning
Convenors: Bernard Payne (U.K.) and Frank Howarth (Australia)
- The participants stressed the importance of having a Vision for every garden - where do we want to be. Each garden is unique and this should be reflected in the Vision.
- They noted the importance of participation (consultation) within and outside the organization in the production of a strategic plan.
- They considered that the politician is both the customer and the supplier; the relationship between the botanic garden and the politicians needs to be a partnership.
- The criteria of a successful strategic plan are: - that it is specific, - that the outcome is focused, achievable and measurable.
- The benefits of strategic planning are the link between the budget, the action plan, the ownership of the strategy and accountability. They noted that these principles apply to the development of the Botanic Garden International Agenda as well.
2. Developing Twinning Relationships Between Botanic Gardens
Convenors: Gerald T. Donnelly (U.S.A.)
- 1. BGCI should actively encourage and facilitate conservation partnerships.
- There are several models for partnerships; one to one twinning, multi lateral, and those involving garden networks.
- The best value of relationships is long term, involving mutual exchange of knowledge and experience.
- Partnerships should serve national or regional conservation strategies.
- Practical and achievable mechanisms for supporting relationships include a facilitated garden communication network, internet partner search, and information and funding for partner startups and scholarships.
Convenors: Peter Wyse Jackson (BGCI), Judy Zuk (U.S.A.), Christine Brandt (U.K.) and Jenny Jay (South Africa)
- The workshop included presentations which outlined the importance of effective, broadly based fund raising strategies for botanic gardens, to enhance the capacity and resources for institutions to support plant conservation.
- Highlighted the value of efficient communications and marketing to provide a clear message about the work and mission of botanic gardens to their visiting public and base of supporters and donors.
- Recognized fund-raising strategies must vary from region to region to be adapted to particular cultural conditions.
- Stressed the importance of providing more opportunities for botanic gardens to share experiences and expertise on fund-raising, marketing and commercialization.
- Suggested greater cooperation between botanic gardens, as well as between network organizations, for the development of new fund-raising initiatives.
THEME F: ETHNOBOTANY
1. Medicinal Plants
Convenors: Fiona Dennis (BGCI), He Shan-An (China) and Neil Crouch (South Africa)
- BGCI should promote new education programmes promoting public awareness of conservation and ethical issues relating to medicinal plants and the recognition of the contribution made by indigenous knowledge.
- There is a need to promote the sustainability of indigenous medicinal systems through the exchange of knowledge, skills and materials.
- It is be important to facilitate the development of CBD compliant policies relating to access to accessions and any subsequent commercialisation and the development of equitable benefit-sharing systems.
- Botanic gardens need to include as wide as possible genetic representation in their living plant collections.
- A higher degree of networking of institutions involved in the conservation of medicinal plants is required. Participants welcomed the establishment Medicinal Plant Nets to facilitate this.
- The study of folk taxonomy should be put onto the botanic garden agendas especially related to medicinal plants. 7. This theme should also include traditional economic plants.
THEME G: EDUCATION
1. Policy Issues Affecting Botanic Gardens
Convenor: Gail Bromley (U.K.)
- When developing botanic garden policy, statements should be incorporated into the education Mission that specifically outlines conventions and Agenda 21 issues and these should underpin all education programmes.
- Botanic gardens should promote a greater awareness of the CBD, Agenda 21 and other conventions among their staff and the wider scientific community to improve understanding and to explain what botanic gardens can offer in this context through, for example training courses and the development of working groups in botanic gardens.
- BGCI should continue to disseminate to botanic gardens popular information and resources on conventions and Agenda 21.
- An audit of botanic garden education programmes needs to be made to explore what is currently being offered that already enshrines the philosophy/recommendations of conventions. 'Good practice' needs to be published as a resource.
- Botanic gardens need to implement a needs assessment, prior to the development of all programmes to ensure relevance and appropriateness of programmes within stated policies.
- Botanic gardens need to link with the other organisations which are working to implement Agenda 21 to form new partnerships on a national and international level.
2. The Role of Botanic Gardens in Sustainable Living
Convenor: Abel Atiti (Kenya)
- Threatened plant communities need to be restored for research and education and botanic gardens can play a role in this.
- Botanic gardens can influence change for sustainability through more participative management styles.
- Botanic gardens should develop programmes for environmental education through an action research approach.
3. Teacher Education
Convenor: Larry DeBuhr (U.S.A.)
- Botanic gardens need to see gardening as a broader concept and involve teachers so that they see it as valuable and useful in science education and other disciplines.
- Botanic garden teacher training programmes are evolutionary - composed of cycles of planning, assessment and teaching and should involve teachers in active learning.
Convenor: Nancy Morin (U.S.A.)
- Botanic gardens should use volunteer programmes as a mechanism for communicating environmental and conservation concepts.
- Botanic gardens should initiate volunteer youth programmes as a way to recruit new people to the fields of botany or horticulture.
- Botanic gardens should increase the use of volunteers in floristic and scientific monitoring programmes.
- When developing volunteer programmes, botanic gardens should have a formal process including policies and a vision to ensure a quality, manageable programme.
Convenor: Lucy Sutherland (BGCI)
- Botanic gardens need to use a wide range of avenues to bench mark and to discover effective ways to communicate their messages.
- Botanic gardens need to provide good information that ensures people can make informed decisions.
- Botanic gardens should explore a range of media, including electronic, to convey their messages.
- Production of information for education needs should start with identifying the issue before deciding on the communication approach.
6. Hands on Effective Interpretation
Convenors: John Roff (South Africa) and Marÿke Honig (South Africa)
- Where live interpretation is not possible, botanic gardens should use well-prepared signs or other appropriate media that encourages interaction as a means of communicating with visitors.
- Biodiversity should be a major topic for all botanic garden interpretative programmes.
- The interpretation of botanic gardens should be responsive to change, be it seasonal or related to local, regional and global issues.
7. Botanic Gardens Programs from Around the World
Convenor: Xola Mkefe (South Africa)
- Botanic garden education programmes should be planned, developed and implemented in a way that ensures they are manageable.
- Botanic gardens should work with the school and local community to serve their needs and establish a positive working relationship whilst still ensuring the mission of the botanic gardens.
8. Community Education/Outreach Programs
Convenor: Edelmira Linares (Mexico)
- Botanic gardens have a role in providing outreach programmes that target isolated and disadvantaged groups that are not able to physically gain access to botanic gardens.
- Botanic garden educators have an important role to play as facilitators by listening and respecting cultures and responding by helping people to see the link between plants and their lives.
- Botanic gardens are important in creating community gardens that provide services and facilities that assist the community in discovering plants and their value.
9. Planning to Make a Difference
Convenors: Bill Graham (U.K.) and Julia Willison (BGCI)
- Botanic gardens should become workable examples of sustainable living.
- All botanic garden staff should be trained so that they fully understand the importance and place of education.
- Access, signage and facilities in botanic gardens should be visitor friendly and reflect the local demography.
- Botanic gardens should promote a respectful, trusting culture with everyone working towards a sustainable future.
- Botanic gardens should use many ways to support green spaces throughout the whole community.
- Botanic gardens should have special programmes, formal and informal, that inspire visitors to discover the gardens, day and night.
The Congress stimulated a wealth of ideas and gave the opportunity for participants not only to exchange information and experiences, but also to share a tremendous enthusiasm for the task in hand.
The Congress ended with a number of conclusions and recommendations but there was also a broad message that many participants will have taken home with them. There was a confirmation, that the botanic gardens of the World play a key role in the sustainable future of our planet. That it is only with the effective development of the botanic garden community's national and international networks and the dedication of their staff, that we can hope to secure the diversity of plants species for the next millennium. As the network grows, it also evolves and more and more individuals and institutions are adopting the conservation message as a part of their mission. We need to promote both one-to-one and multi-lateral twinning in order to support capacity building and the development of national and international strategies.
Clearly information, its management and exchange, is the fundamental tool we use. The development of sound collections databases, based upon the, now widely adopted, International Transfer Format, and the development of collection's policies that take greater account of the conservation needs of their regions, are rapidly becoming key to the success of each gardens mission.
The imminent development of an International Clearing House Mechanism for botanic gardens will promote their effectiveness and support the conservation work they undertake. As individuals and institutions begin to develop their policies and their procedures in response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, they will begin to play a more significant role in its implementation. This will raise the profile of botanic gardens at both national and international levels, and lead to a greater integration between botanic garden conservation activities and those activities of non-garden bodies. Clearly, co-operation with non garden bodies in areas such as species recovery plans, will enable botanic gardens to play an enhanced role in habitat management and restoration ecology and link them with land managers and with in situ conservationists.
Many priorities, however, remain the same; the need for Systematics' to play a pivotal role in botanic gardens, the urgent need for taxonomic training, and the promotion of taxonomy to the general public as a fundamental component of plant conservation. More genebanks are required, particularly in areas of high biodiversity. The ever-present danger of invasive plant species needs to be challenged with research about their control. Fund-raising too, remains high on the agenda. The need to develop broad-based funding opportunities to support plant conservation will involve targeted marketing, imaginative new ideas and innovations along with clear communications.
The Congress gave us all the opportunity to assess not only the current status of the work being undertaken by botanic gardens world-wide but to look into the future. Meeting the challenges of the next few years will require a clear and practical strategy. The concept of a global botanic garden strategy, an International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation, was born at the Congress. It is hoped that it will be the development of this idea that will focus much of the imagination and optimism witnessed in Cape Town, until the botanic community meet again, at the next Congress in Asheville, USA in the year 2000.
BGCI was gratified to see the support shown by its members, this sustains us even when our tiny body of staff, are threatened by submergence under an ever-expanding workload. But it is with optimism, realism and action that we look to the future.
Copyright 1999 NBI