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Plant Conservation Challenges

The Middle Eastern region is experiencing rapid population growth. The following are some of the major driving causes of the current plant diversity crisis:

  • To meet the needs of an ever-increasing number of people, expanded land use, with all its negative overall environmental impacts, contributes to loss of plant diversity.
  • Water scarcity is increasing.
  • Food demands and market forces have encouraged substituting higher yielding cultivars for locally adapted varieties. This is diminishing genetic diversity of crops.
  • Traditional dryland management practices and conservation approaches (e.g. al-hima) are being lost.
  • Rangelands are experiencing overgrazing and wild lands are often plowed to secure property rights over the land.

Plant diversity can help us navigate our way through these very problems, and build a secure future for all life. To protect and cultivate plant life in this and other regions is of critical importance to our well-being and survival.


To halt and secure the loss of plant diversity in the region, integrated conservation approaches need to be promoted and strengthened, with immediate effect.

BGCI is driving change for the better, aiming to secure plant diversity in the region by strengthening capacity and activity in botanic gardens both within the region and globally.

Our goals are:

  • measures for ex and in situ conservation
  • the establishment of living collections and seed banks, reintroduction and recovery programmes in the original habitats,
  • the protection of remaining wild habitats and unique ecosystems harboring endemic species.

Safety Nets for Medicinal Plants

The Safety Nets project is about the protection of medicinal plants around the world. Huge pressure on medicinal plant resources, largely from habitat destruction and over-harvesting, is straining nature's ability to cope and we are putting human health at risk as a result.


The Role of Botanic Gardens in Plant Conservation

Botanic gardens play a key role in the conservation of the world's plant diversity and the education of people in environmental issues. BGCI facilitates this work through delivering publications, workshops, congresses, support and guidance. Together we are making plants, and thus life, more secure.


Major Threats to Plant Diversity

It is estimated that there are 270,000 plant species in the world, and one in eight are threatened with extinction. This page describes the main threats, and provides links to more information.


Challenges in Botanical Research and Climate Change
The 2nd World Botanic Gardens Scientific Congresswill be held in Delft, the Netherlands, on 29 June - 4 July 2008. The main themes are Conservation and Climate Change, Bionics, New Systematics and Future Issues. Registration for those wishing to contribute a paper is 15 December
Sabkha Ecosystems
Research on sabkha ecology began only a few decades ago when sabkhat were seen as wasteland. They are now recognised as ecosystems with research, development, and conservation value. This multidisciplinary volume covers everything from botany to zoology in this fragile ecotype.