Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.

Plants and climate change:which future?

which future report coverIn 2008 we published a major new report; 'Plants and climate change: which future?'

The report details how plants and climate change are intimately connected, and explains why it is crucially important for us to act now to save the world’s plants.

“Plants form the basis of every major terrestrial ecosystem on our planet, but despite their key importance to all life, we currently have an extremely limited understanding of how they will be affected by climate change” said Belinda Hawkins of BGCI, co-author of the report. “What we do know is that this new climatic era will have its ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ species, and unfortunately many of humankind’s most valued crops, medicinal and ornamental plants are likely to fall into the latter category.”

The report provides referenced information and case studies that:

  • Examine the effects of climate change on plants (from individual cellular responses to entire ecosystem changes)
  • Describe how the impact of climate change on plants will affect the animals and humans who depend upon them.
  • Explain which species are most at risk of extinction.
  • Recommend actions needed to ensure a future for the world’s plants.

The report is co-authored by Belinda Hawkins (BGCI's Research Officer and author of BGCI's recent report on medicinal plants), Suzanne Sharrock (BGCI's Director of Global Programs) and Kay Havens (Director of the Division of Plant Science and Conservation at Chicago Botanic Garden, which also hosts BGCI's U.S. office). It contains contributions from botanists and plant conservation scientists around the world.

The report is available electronically here, and a concise summary of all eight chapters can be found here.

Order your own hardcopy version see the publications page. Note: BGCI institution members, conservation donors, and new individual members receive a complimentary report and 25% off additional copies.

References to BGCI's report can be found in Science (23rd May 2008, v.320: p.1000), in Horticulture Week (26th June 2008).the July/August 2008 issue of American Gardener and on the Ecological Society of America's (ESA) blog.