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2nd World Botanic Gardens Scientific Congress - Challenges in Botanical Research and Climate Change

12 August 2008

The 2nd World Botanic Gardens Scientific Congress took place from 29 June to 4 July, hosted by the Botanic Garden of the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands.

Echoing the theme of the congress, a stimulating debate was held on the opening day, highlighting a range of varying points of view about climate change.  Although opinion may be divided on how best to invest scarce resources in delivering effective responses to climate change, many of the papers presented during the congress provided clear evidence that changing climates are already having an impact on plant distribution and even on species survival. 

Speakers at the congress called for a massive scale-up of conservation actions in the face of climate change, taking into account a future which is likely to have fewer species, many of which will not be conserved within the existing protected area network.  Considering that most plant species will not be able to migrate fast enough to keep up with climate change, especially where habitat fragmentation provides an additional constraint, the congress also called for more research into ‘assisted migration’ and the ability of new species assemblages to provide ecosystem goods and services.

Given the great diversity of plants being cultivated in the world’s botanic gardens, congress participants agreed on the need to position botanic gardens in the future as centres of excellence in botanical research, providing skills and expertise to underpin conservation and restoration of the world’s ecosystems. 
Among other key topics discussed during the congress were the management of botanic garden collections, the use of seed lists and the control of invasive plant species. The papers are available on the congress website:

We extend our thanks and appreciation to the organisers, hosts and sponsors of the congress. 

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