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Smithsonian Botanical Symposium

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April 19-20, 2013

Washington, D.C

Smithsonian Botanical Symposium
April 19-20, 2013
Washington, D.C.

“Avoiding Extinction: Contemporary Approaches to Conservation Science”
Presented by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
In collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden
Supported by the Cuatrecasas Family Foundation

Conservation science seeks to provide a rational framework for the protection of species and their habitats. At the inception of the discipline, scientists recognized that environmental problems, including land use change and pollution effects, were significant challenges to sustaining biodiversity. Scientists now acknowledge that, while these problems remain, other issues such as invasive species, interspecific hybridization, and climate change impose additional threats to species survival. Furthermore, paleoecologists have used the fossil record to contextualize the current loss of biodiversity based on knowledge of past extinctions and paleoclimates, and now models of predicted future climates are helping to anticipate new challenges.

Forty years ago, the U.S. Endangered Species Act was signed into law. This landmark piece of legislation was designed to protect plant and animal species from extinction based on our knowledge of conservation science at the time. The Act has led to many success stories, primarily due to the growing sophistication of the conservation science it spurred, but will not be sufficient on its own to address new conservation goals. With new landmark conservation legislation unlikely in the near future, how will scientists continue to move forward in their quest to preserve biodiversity?
The 11th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, hosted by the Department of Botany and the United States Botanic Garden, will highlight past efforts and new threats to conservation goals, as well as new approaches underway that promise to safeguard biodiversity both here in the U.S. and around the world. The invited speakers will cover a wide range of endangered organisms, with a special focus on plants, to illustrate the challenges of modern-day conservation science in a rapidly changing world.

Symposium speakers
Scott P. Carroll, University of California-Davis
Andrea T. Kramer, Chicago Botanic Garden
Stuart Pimm, Duke University
Chris D. Thomas, University of York
Stephen Weller, University of California-Irvine
Dennis Whigham, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Scott Wing, National Museum of Natural History

Information, registration, and poster abstract instructions at
Fax: 202-786-2563 – e-mail:

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