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Climate Change and Plant Conservation

Plants face many threats, but climate change is probably the single greatest threat to plant diversity, and thus a major challenge for plant conservationists.

What Does 'Climate Change' Actually Mean?

Humankind is affecting natural temperature regulation by releasing increasing quantities of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. This will have multiple effects, not just a gradual increase in temperature.

Effects on Plant Diversity

Climate change has important implications for nearly every aspect of life on Earth. Its multiple effects could prove the "final straw" for plants already facing other threats.

Climate change and the Amazon


Climate change
in the Amazon,
from the BBC



Gran Canaria Declaration on Climate Change and Plant Conservation

In issuing its ‘Gran Canaria Declaration on Climate Change and Plant Conservation’ the Gran Canaria Group, whose membership includes many botanic gardens around the world, calls on the international community to take urgent action to protect global plant diversity.


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

This Convention addresses the concern that human activities have increased in the average temperature of the earth's surface and thus changed the basic conditions that have allowed life to exist on earth.


Climate Change Responses

We asked Cultivate readers what they think about climate change and how botanic gardens can be - and are - involved in assessing and mitigating it's impacts. We have had a lot of very interesting responses some of which are published here.



Find Out More

Friends of the Earth: Brainy Ways to Beat Climate Change
Friends of the Earth inspires solutions to environmental problems which make life better for people. These technologies put paid to the old cliché that we can't do anything about climate change.

DEFRA's Climate Change Challenge
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face today. The first step towards tackling the problem is to make sure everyone understands exactly what the challenge is and the difference they could make. The UK's Department of Environment has set up this useful website on how we can all help.

Avoiding Air Travel
Do you think air travel is the only real option? Or you just can't face the hassle of trying to find alternative routes? This website has gathered all kinds of land and sea route information to help you plan a journey without getting airborne - so you can get there with low environmental impact.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) its a international association of scientists that provides authoratative information on current and predicted extent and impacts of climate change.

Contribute to the World's Biggest Climate Change Experiment
We need the computer power you're not using. Join in the largest climate prediction experiment ever, developed by climate scientists for the BBC using the Met Office climate model. (A PC-only project)

Cultivate E-Bulletin
Cultivate, BGCI's regular e-bulletin brings you opinion, comment, case studies and surveys for and about the world's botanic gardens. Sign up today - click the link.
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