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Report on the III Symposium of the Iberian-Macaronesian Association of Botanic Gardens

Volume 2 Number 6 - June 1996

Margarita Clemente Muñoz

The III Symposium of the Iberian-Macaronesian Association of Botanic Gardens was held in Horta, Faial (Azores) from 11-16 September, 1994. It was organized by the Regional Tourist and Environmental Secretariat-Regional Environmental Agency and the Botanic Garden of Faial and supported by the Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, National Board of Technological and Scientific Research and the British Council. Interesting field visits were made to the Islands of Pico, San Jorge and Faial.

The following institutions were represented in the Symposium:

Jardim Botânico da Madeira
Jardim do Palácio Santana
Museu, Laboratório e Jardim Botânico de Lisboa
Jardín Botánico "Viera y Clavijo"
Jardín Botánico de Córdoba
Jardín Botánico de Valencia
Jardín Botánico de Sóller
Jardín de Aclimatación de la Orotava
Jardín Histórico Botánico de Málaga
Departamento Biología Vegetal - ETSIA de Madrid
Instituto Superior de Agronomía de Lisboa
Estaçáo Agronómica Nacional de Oeiras
Laboratório de Farmacognosia-Faculdade Farmácia
Universidade de Lisboa
Dept. Ciências Agrárias (Universidade dos Açores)
Dept. de Biología (Universidade dos Açores)
Azorica-Associaçáo de Defesa do Ambiente
Dept. Ecological Botany-University of Uppsala
Adm. Florestal do Faial (Direcçáo Recursos Florestais)
Adm. Florestal de S. Jorge (Direcçáo Recursos Florestais)
Adm. Florestal do Pico (Direcçáo Recursos Florestais)
Adm. Florestal da Terceira (Direcçáo Recursos Florestais)
Adm. Florestal das Flores (Direcçáo Recursos Florestais)
Instituto de Conservaçáo da Natureza
Centro de Botânica do Inst. Inv. Cientifica Tropical
Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (Universidad de
Delegaçáo de Ambiente de Ponta Delgada
Delegaçáo de Ambiente da Terceira

The Botanic Gardens of Coimbra and Oporto were represented by the Museum, Laboratory and Botanic Garden of Lisbon.

The following conclusions were approved unanimously as a result of the discussions:

1. Botanic Gardens

1.1 To congratulate Dr Irene Alves Pereira from the Regional Environmental Agency for coordinating the Symposium and Eng. Mario Alves Gómes of the Faial  Gardens for his hospitality and organization of the meeting and for his achievements in the Botanic Garden of Faial. The participants also recognize the support given by the Regional Tourist and Environmental Secretariat for the development of the Botanic Garden of Faial and in particular for the acquisition of 6 ha of land to extend the Botanic Garden.

1.2 To encourage the collaboration amongst the Iberian-Macaronesian botanic gardens, in order to help the botanic gardens of the Portuguese Islands, especially those of Faial and Funchal (Madeira).

1.3 To make the botanic gardens of the Association aware of their international responsibility for the conservation of biodiversity. They must support actions directed to in situ conservation of habitats and species as a means to palliate the detrimental effects of agricultural, forest and urban development.

1.4 To encourage collaboration amongst botanic gardens, universities and management authorities involved in these conservation programmes.

1,5 To promote the botanic gardens of the Association and to give their support and scientific advice to international agreements and conventions (CITES, Berne Convention and Community Directives). Botanic gardens are also requested to observe the rules and code of behaviour described in the "CITES Manual for Botanic Gardens", prepared by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), with the collaboration of WWF, ICONA (Spain) and the C¢rdoba Botanic Garden for the elaboration of its English and Spanish editions. The traditional procedures for exchange of materials should be adapted to international law.

2. Ex situ Conservation

2.1 To encourage research and methodologies in order to improve ex situ conservation programmes as a complement to in situ conservation, giving special priority to the conservation of ecosystems.

2.2 To promote the creation of a recording system for the genetic material conserved ex situ and for its subsequent publication.

2.3 Need to establish guidelines and criteria for the inclusion of the most appropriate areas in conservation programmes, so as to restrict the erosion and genetic contamination that could be derived from ex situ conservation actions.

3. Biodiversity

3.1 To determine the value and importance of biodiversity, by promoting actions intended to protect the genetic diversity either in situ or ex situ.

3.2 To promote studies on distribution, ecology and reproductive strategies, so that the conservation measures proposed should have a scientific basis.

3.3 To promote and develop joint actions in cooperation with the rural communities, to make them aware of the patrimonial value of the endemic species of the region.

3.4 To emphasize the importance of the conservation of populations (of non-threatened species) located at the limit of their geographical area, given their importance in genetic evolution and dynamics.

3.5 To make the authorities of the island regions aware of the high scientific, pedagogical and social value of their flora and vegetation and of their responsibility for its conservation. The following are particularly important: conservation of the habitats in the "misterios" area (recent outflows of lava) and lakes, restrictive action to avoid the extension of pastures at high altitudes, conservation of especially sensitive habitats such as the Fajas of San Jorge Island and the littoral of Pico Island.

4. Genetic Contamination

4.1 To stress the need to establish control measures on new introductions and face the already existing invaders (as a consequence of the free circulation of plant material in the European Union).

4.2 Need to adapt the international law to the national and regional legislation (especially in the islands due to their greater sensitivity).

4.3 To spread the international law relative to the exchange of living material direct to Customs officers and similar institutions and promote training of specialized personnel for its application.

4.4 To consider the possible danger derived from the use of endemic species as ornamental plants, because this could cause a deterioration of the genetic heritage of the different populations.

Resolutions Derived From The Operation Of The IMABG

  1. To support Prof. J. Esteban Hern ndez Bermejo's proposal to include the Botanic Gardens of the Iberian-Macaronesian Association in international institutions. such as BGCI and IABG, as full members.
  2. To legalize the IMABG in Portugal to facilitate the management of its affairs and obtaining funding (the Association is already a legal entity in Spain).
  3. Index Seminum: The Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid is preparing this year's edition and originals should be sent before 30 September 1994. The institutions in charge of the edition and distribution of the Index Seminum during the next years will be: Lisboa Botanic Garden in 1996, Malaga Historical Botanic Garden in 1997, Valencia Botanic Garden in 1998.
  4. IV Symposium of the IMABG. The proposal presented by Prof. Jes£s Izco from Santiago de Compostela for holding the next Symposium in that city in 1996 was approved.
  5. Presidency of the IMABG. Prof. Manuel Costa, from the Valencia Botanic Garden, was supported as President of the Association for the next two years. As he did not attend the meeting, it was agreed to consult him. Meanwhile, the present President and Vice-President will remain in office.
  6. Area of influence of the IMABG. A letter from the Director of the Gibraltar Botanic Garden requesting the inclusion of the Gibraltar Botanic Garden in the Association was discussed. This inclusion is not possible because statutory provisions restrict this right to Spain and Portugal. Nevertheless it could participate in the meetings without being a full member. As other petitions from other countries have been received, it was agreed to maintain the present Iberian-Macaronesian (Spain and Portugal) area of influence of the Association, excluding any other area.