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The Role of Botanic Gardens in Plant Conservation

Botanic gardens have collectively accumulated centuries of resources and expertise that now means they play a key role in plant conservation. Many of these activities contribute to ex situ conservation, but botanic gardens also play an important role in in situ conservation.

Read about Botanic Gardens in Conservation, and follow the links below, to find out more about the activities that are used for plant conservation.

  • Horticulture and cultivation skills allow us to grow plants that might be lost in nature, which means their plants' diversity can be conserved in the gardens, but also allows us to consider restoration and rehabilitation of degraded habitats.
  • Living collections of plants collect species under various groupings, to maintain a living store of genetic diversity that can support many activities in conservation and research.
  • Seed banks and collections of living plants allow species to be safeguarded. Plants must be carefully collected stored to ensure maximum genetic diversity is retained, and much research is required to determine the best way of storing each species. This is the conservation of plant diversity in situ, and botanic gardens are key to this strategy's capacity and success.
  • Research and development into plant taxonomy and genetics, phytochemistry, useful properties, informing selection of plants that can withstand degraded and changing environments (especially important in face of the threats posed by climate change).
  • Education is a strength of botanic gardens that allows them to communicate the importance of conserving plants, reaching out to diverse audiences, and also to communicate how this may be achieved.

There is a wide variety in the size and types of botanic garden, in all regions of the world, working together in networks to share information and expertise.

Click the region map on the right for more information about regional botanic garden networks, or you can use our Garden Search Database to search for botanic gardens by keyword or country.

Development and funding are also essential to ensure that botanic gardens' potential for conservation is fully realised - our web page on this topic provides some information and examples of successful development strategies.


BGjournal is the worldwide journal of botanic garden conservation. It covers a range of detailed content including in-depth features, congress reports, profiles of gardens and case studies of conservation work being carried out in gardens around the world.


Declare Your Garden's Committment to the International Agenda

Your garden can show its committment to the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation. Registration is free and open to all (your botanic garden is probably already contributing) - and it helps BGCI to demonstrate to the wider world the important role botanic gardens that play.


Botanic Garden Policies on Access and Benefit Sharing

So far, over 100 countries have drafted, or are in the process of drafting, national legislation that affects the way their biological resources can be acquired, used and supplied to others. Botanic gardens need to show their understanding of the CBD in order to build trust with partners.



Find Out More

The Weight of A Petal: The Value of Botanical Gardens
By H. Bruce Rinker, this article beautifully describes the importance of botanic gardens to plant conservation and thus, the whole of humanity and the world. Get your inspiration here!

Great Botanic Gardens of the World
Join Sara Oldfield on this panoramic perspective on the history and current contributions of the world's major botanic gardens. Lavishly illustrated, sales of this book support BGCI's work.
Botanic Gardens RSS News Feed
Add BGCI to your RSS feed list and get the latest from botanic gardens on your desktop.