Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.


Wild plants and rural livelihoods

Wild plants offer a wealth of services and goods of essential livelihood value. Worldwide, over half a billion people who live in poverty depend on the availability of wild plant resources to sustain their daily subsistence needs. While the opportunities provided by wild plants and their products to alleviate poverty through income generation are tremendous, so are the many obstacles that challenge this potential.

BGCI, with funding provided by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), undertook a pilot study in 2011 on how wild plants can be used to support rural livelihoods. 

The study aimed to identify successful models and draw lessons from sustainable management and commercialisation of wild flora and its products (excluding timber). Focusing on case studies from Brazil, China, India and Mexico, this project was designed to assist policy-makers and conservation practitioners to enhance the integration of poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation based on recent practical experiences.

Download a copy of the report here.


Community based conservation

In 2010, BGCI published a discussion paper which considered the challenges faced in community-based conservation of wild plants which are used for local rural livelihoods and looked at how botanic gardens might provide effective solutions to address both socioeconomic needs and conservation ends.

In its 20 pages, 'Conserving wild plants for livelihoods - botanic gardens working with local communities' considers pilot projects and consultations with a range of individuals and organizations in Madagascar and Uganda carried out by BGCI and partners, with support from SwedBio through the Wild Plants for Food and Medicine project. This project was designed to support IUCN Red Listing for plants, selection of Important Plant Areas and community approaches to  plant conservation in the two  countries.

The paper also draws on experiences from elsewhere in the world, either directly related to BGCI projects, or based on a review of literature and discussions with botanic gardens and partner organizations. Botanic gardens already act as vitally important resource  centres for the conservation of plant diversity.

The discussion document 'Conserving wild plants for livelihoods - botanic gardens working with local communities' is available as both a low or high resolution pdf.