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Network Proposal and Bye-laws for the Caribbean Botanic Gardens for Conservation (CBGC)

Volume 2 Number 9 - December 2002

Julia Kornegay

The 2002 Caribbean Botanic Gardens for Conservation (CBGC) (Jardines Botanicos del Caribe para la Conservación (JBCC), Jardins Botaniques de la Caraïbe pour la Conservation (JBCC) Meeting was held in May, 2002 at Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami, U.S.A. This was a landmark event and has set the future of the network on a secure foundation.

It was attended by people from 15 countries with 27 participants from the Caribbean and South America. Three days of presentations, workshops and discussions was followed by a half-day Caribbean Palm Symposium and a meeting of the CBGC General Assembly. The Assembly made some modifications to the by-laws, which were ratified by the group (see Box). The next meeting will be held in Belize in 2004.

Network Proposal and Bye-Laws

Caribbean Botanic Gardens for Conservation (CBGC)
Jardines Botanicos del Caribe para la Conservación (JBCC)
Jardins Botaniques de la Caraïbe pour la Conservation (JBCC)

Mission Satement:

Caribbean Botanic Gardens for Conservation promotes and supports the role of botanical gardens and associated institutions as regional leaders in the conservation of biodiversity of the Caribbean basin.


- The Caribbean basin is rich in native biodiversity with more than 15,000 plant species, of which 7,000 are endemic to the region. Many species exist naturally only in small populations in diverse ecosystems which are often fragmented.

- Composed of islands and coastal regions, native Caribbean ecosystems are increasingly impacted by urban and agriculture expansion, tourism, pollution, and invasive pest plants and animals.

- Quality of life and sustainable development of the Caribbean basin depends on well managed and conserved, diverse ecosystems and plant genetic resources.

- Caribbean botanic gardens play a unique role in the conservation of native Caribbean biodiversity through the collection, cultivation, documentation, distribution, re-introduction, display and interpretation of native plant species; and by educational and outreach programs, botanical research, stewardship of natural areas and promotion of tourism.


CBGC is the result of three meetings by representatives of Caribbean botanic gardens that were held in Grand Cayman in June 1996, Barbados in July 1997, and Jamaica in June 1998. The objective of these meetings was to develop the Conservation Action Plan for Botanic Gardens of the Caribbean Islands (1988) to help the gardens formulate and successfully implement projects that address the Convention on Biological Diversity.

During the Jamaica meeting, the assembly of representatives elected a Steering Committee to develop the CBGC network. The Steering Committee meet on May 27-29, 1999 at Fairchild Tropical Garden, Florida and November 28 – December 1, 1999 at Jardín Botánico Nacional de Habana, Cuba to develop the CBGC network proposal. This proposal was subsequently distributed to all member institutions for their input and comments. The purpose of the CBGC proposal is to seek international funding for the network.

Network Proposal Outline:

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives and expected outcomes of CBGC are outlined in the four following sections:

A. Capacity building and education
B. Information dissemination
C. Inter-institutional partnerships
D. Conservation subprojects grants

A. Capacity Building and Education


1. Training and internship courses are provided to strengthen regional and national programs in biodiversity conservation. Possible training subjects include:

  • plant identification and systematics
  • herbarium management
  • conservation horticulture methods
  • in-situ conservation methods
  • ecology and biogeography
  • botanical garden management
  • plant collection management
  • information management
  • interpretation and curricula development
  • teacher training
  • public education in plant conservation
  • guide training in ecotourism to promote conservation
  • hurricane mitigation
  • grant writing
  • fund raising and events planning

2. Scholarship funds are identified for participants in non-network courses. CBGC-sponsored travel grants are made available on a competitive basis.

3. Staff exchange among Caribbean botanical gardens improves skills and promotes regional cooperation.

4. The network assists members to write grants and identify potential donors for local projects.

5. Community service opportunities are initiated and strengthened to:

  • develop strategies for the recruitment and management of volunteers
  • assist in establishing “Friends of the Garden” and membership functions
  • plan special events and fund raising activities 
  • establish ecotourism programs

B. Information Dissemination


1. Lists of existing information are compiled on Caribbean biodiversity and conservation activities, including:

  • medicinal/ethnobotanical plants and their uses
  • native and exotic flora by island and sub-regions
  • plant collections in botanical gardens
  • on-going conservation projects

2. Network information to promote regional conservation is developed and disseminated in English and Spanish, including:

  • a network internet site
  • a network newsletter
  • horticultural publications, manuals and databases
  • publications of successful conservation cases
  • information on germplasm exchange regulations by country
  • electronic and printed databases concerning human and technical resources and existing infrastructure.

3. An annual meeting of members is held and an annual report is produced with the results/impact of network activities.

4. Specialized workshops are held to gather and exchange plant conservation information.

5. Regional botanical publications are promoted and supported.

6. Botanical gardens are supported in their efforts to obtain internet access.

7. Conservation and network information is distributed to institutions and agencies outside the network.

C. Inter-Institutional Partnerships


1. The network supports inter-institutional conservation projects involving a member institution and other groups to enhance impact.

2. The network participates in local, regional and international conservation forums.

3. The network works with local and regional commercial and tourism industries to promote conservation and the sustainable management of natural resources.

4. The network works with political and educational groups to support conservation initiatives in the region.

D. Conservation Sub-Projects Grants


1. Start-up money is made available to network members through competitive sub-project grants that support conservation activities in three main areas:

In situ conservation

  • conduct plant species inventories to determine conservation needs
  • monitor and map rare and endangered priority species (access to this information is restricted), and update the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species.
  • monitor and map native plant populations and develop up to date lists
  • conduct taxonomic studies of specific groups of Caribbean flora
  • conduct ecological studies and make land use recommendations in specific sites
  • restore and/or reinforce plant populations and individual species in natural areas
  • adopt and/or manage small areas of high risk endemics
  • identify and assess invasive plant species and recommend control practices
  • conduct studies of medicinal and ethnobotanical plants and their historical uses
  • study and promote sustainable use of native plant resources
  • study and document the effect of large-scale natural disasters on natural ecosystems

Ex situ conservation

  • help botanical gardens prepare for, mitigate and/or recover from natural disasters
  • establish and cultivate field gene banks of native species
  • establish seed and propagule storage methods and seed banks
  • display and exhibit native flora in botanical gardens
  • conduct biological and horticultural studies on botanical collections
  • establish reciprocal and duplicate collections

Botanic Garden Support Services

  • establish and/or strengthen national herbaria and documentation centers of the Caribbean region
  • conduct land-use studies and make recommendations for protection of natural areas,agroforestry, commercial horticulture, and tourism
  • provide plant identification services
  • develop and interpret public garden displays and exhibits of Caribbean flora
  • develop local communities projects in native plant conservation
  • upgrade nursery and horticultural facilities for native plant propagation

Network Management & Byelaws:


A full-time coordinator is essential for the network to be effective in achieving its mission. The responsibilities of the coordinator include:

  • overall management of the network
  • maintain communication with all members
  • compile and disseminate information
  • identify new members
  • develop and administer annual budgets
  • distribute subproject grants
  • organize Bi-ennial meetings, workshops, events and travels
  • interact with donor organizations, government agencies and other groups
  • coordinate committee meetings
  • implement and coordinate training courses and workshops
  • organize external reviews of network programs
  • promote the network and conservation regionally and internationally
  • communicate in English and Spanish


The Assembly is the overall governing body of the network. The function of the Assembly is to approve annual network activities, vote on new network members, and elect the steering committee. The Assembly is composed of the member institutions. Each country may have more than one member in the network; however, only one vote per country is permitted in the Assembly. It is up to each country to decide how they will vote on network activities. There must be at least eight member countries present to open the assembly.


The network has three categories of membership:

  • Founding members - original participating botanical institutions in the Caribbean Islands Botanic Gardens Workshops.
  • Members - other Caribbean botanical gardens and similar institutions located in the Caribbean region with a serious interest in biodiversity conservation. Must be recommended by at least two active members. New members are approved by simply majority vote of the Assembly.
  • Associate members - other institutions that collaborate with the network, but do not fulfill the requirements of full memberships. Associate members have restricted participation in network activities and do not vote in the Assembly. Must be recommended by at least two active members. Associate members are approved by a simple majority of the Assembly.

Steering Committee

The steering committee is an elected group of members who are empowered by the Assembly to carry out specific duties of the network. Associate members cannot serve on the steering committee. The responsibilities of the steering committee are to:


  • develop the overall strategy of the network, including structure and function
  • develop a network grant proposal to seek international funding
  • contact international donor agencies
  • recruit and hire a network coordinator
  • appoint Task Forces to develop specific proposals for the annual workplan
  • review, select and allocate funding to network subproject grants

The steering committee is composed of eight members, plus the network coordinator who is a permanent member of the committee. Each committee member can serve a maximum of three terms or six years. Attendance is required for at least one steering committee meeting each year. The assembly elects every two years three new members with the three steering committee members receiving the least number of votes to rotate off and the three assembly members receiving the highest number of votes replacing them on the Steering Committee.

Task Forces

Task Forces will be set up to address various needs of the members. The Chair of each Task Force is appointed by the Steering Committee. Each Task Force is composed of members and Associate Members and invited non-member experts as appropriate to address issues and develop recommendations and proposals to submit to the Steering Committee for consideration in the network’s annual workplan.

The first steering committee was elected by the Assembly in the 3rd Caribbean Islands Botanic Gardens Workshop in June 1998. The committee is composed of the following persons and institutions:

  • Milciades Mejia - Director of the National Botanical Garden of the Dominic Republic
  • Angela Leiva - Director of the National Botanical Garden of Cuba
  • Andreas Oberli - Director of the National Arboretum Foundation in Jamaica
  • Indra Furlonge-Kelly - Director of the Botanic Garden of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Judy duPlooy - Director of the Botanic Garden of Belize
  • Julia Kornegay - Director of Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami, Florida
  • Peter Wyse-Jackson - Director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International in England

Expert Panels

Expert Panels are appointed by the steering committee. Each Panel is composed of a minimum of three experts from within and outside the network. The function of the Expert Panels is to:

  • review biannually all subproject grant proposals and make recommendations to the steering committee about proposals for funding in the three major subproject areas: in situ conservation, ex situ conservation, and botanic garden support services
  • evaluate results and outcomes of on-going subprojects
  • recommend experts to provide technical evaluations and assistance

Modifications to the Network Bylaws

The network bylaws can be changed or amended by the Assembly. To modify the bylaws, the proposed change(s) must be sent by mail and/or email to all voting members of the Assembly prior to the annual meeting. If a quorum of voting members (sixty five percent) is present at the annual meeting, the members can vote on the changes presented as a ballot. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the voting members must approve the ballot to modify the bylaws. If a quorum is not present at the annual meeting, the ballots are sent by mail to the members. A quorum of responses must be received by the network coordinator within two months of that date for the ballot to be approved and the modification implemented. All members (voting and nonvoting) will be informed of the results and any changes in the bylaws.

Network Headquarters

Fairchild Tropical Garden (FTG) will be the site of the network administrative headquarters for the network during the first phase of activities. FTG will develop the project proposal, contact potential donors, and organize the first formal meeting of the network for 2002. When funding is obtained for the first phase of activities, the office of the network coordinator will be located at FTG. Fairchild’s professional staff will provide assistance to the coordinator to initiate network activities. FTG’s Department of Finance will provide budget and accounting services to the network, donor agencies, and for audit evaluations. Subsequent phases of activities will be relocated to other appropriate institutions within the Caribbean region.