Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species Supports BGCI

Volume 2 Number 6 - June 1996


The Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species was announced by the U.K Prime Minister at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio in 1992, to enable grants to be awarded to projects proposed by U.K based organizations and institutions, aimed at conserving the diversity of the world's species.

In April 1993, BGCI received a major three-year grant to help its work in strengthening networks of botanic gardens in developing countries to enhance their capacity to undertake biodiversity conservation.

The main objectives of the project were to:

  • provide technical assistance, logistical support and advice to botanic gardens and arboreta in developing regions of Africa, South east Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean by continuing to operate a resource centre on biodiversity conservation for botanic gardens at BGCI's head office in the U.K.;
  • provide support in the form of published guidelines, newsletters, information packs, computer software and support, day to day advice on conservation matters and garden infrastructural and programme development.

The grant has been extremely valuable to enhance BGCI's ability and available resources to enable it to support and develop botanic garden networks and individual institutions in several parts of the developing world.

During the course of this project Darwin Initiative support has been used in two ways to develop a series of outputs, including:

Publications and Achievements Bearing the Darwin Initiative Logo

  • Roots: the education newsletter for botanic gardens. 4 issues published. A 5th is due for publication shortly.
  • Education Guidelines for Botanic Gardens
  • Education resource pack on the subject of Paper (Also supported by Canon (UK) Ltd.)
  • BG-RECORDER - a computer software package for the management of botanic garden biodiversity collections. (Also supported by Zeneca plc.)
  • The Recorder: a newsletter for managers of computer biodiversity record systems. Two issues published.
  • Database of plant conservation institutions in Africa.
  • Tropical Africa Botanic Gardens Bulletin. One issue published. One in preparation.
  • Boletin de los Jardines Botanicos de America Latina. One issue published.
  • Workshop for East African botanic gardens held in Entebbe, Uganda in 1995.
  • A questionnaire sent to every known African botanic garden.

Contributions to BGCI staff costs to help in the preparation of other publications, whose general costs were supported by other donors, including:

  • A CITES Manual for Botanic Gardens. Supported by ICONA (Spain), WWF-International and the Italian government.
  • Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy. Translations in Russian, Spanish and Italian. Supported by WWF-International, the Italian Botanical Society and C¢rdoba Botanic Garden.
  • A questionnaire on botanic garden germplasm holdings sent to every known botanic garden.
  • Botanic Gardens Conservation News. Two issues per year published. Some issues were also supported by Shell Petroleum International plc.
  • Roots Digest: a botanic garden education newsletter in Chinese. Two issues published. One in preparation. Also supported by Nanjing Botanical Garden, China.

During the same period, BGCI regional offices were opened in Colombia, Indonesia and Russia and a broad series of collaborative projects undertaken between BGCI and individual botanic gardens in these and many other many countries.

The project period of this grant expires on 31 March 1996. We therefore take this opportunity to acknowledge and warmly thank the Darwin Initiative organization for the valuable support given to Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as part of this project over the last three years, during a period which has been busy, productive and very rewarding for us and during an important and very significant time in the development of BGCI.