Botanic gardens hold a huge amount of valuable knowledge for ecological restoration and have recently come together to form Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens (ERA).
As the world’s population continues past the 7 billion mark, the demands and pressure on the natural world increases the threats to the survival of plant species and the role they play in ecological functions, goods and services. More and more wild places are becoming destroyed and degraded and unable to provide the support for life on earth.
Ecosystem restoration is the process of actively managing the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed. It is a conscious intervention based on traditional or local knowledge and scientific understanding. Its goal is to restore ecosystems to be resilient and self-sustaining with respect to their structure and functional properties.
Why Botanic Gardens?
Botanic gardens are uniquely positioned to help address the issues relevant to restoring ecosystems. They provide knowledge and expertise in plant taxonomy, horticulture, biodiversity inventory, conservation biology, restoration ecology and ethnobotany – all key elements for achieving successful restoration.
Botanic gardens also collectively serve as a global repository for documented plant material, with at least one-third of all flowering plants maintained in living collections or seed banks. Utilising knowledge gained from these collections, related herbaria and libraries, and combined with landscape knowledge from field surveys and ecological research, botanic gardens bring the understanding necessary to ensure that restoration leads to adequate taxonomic diversity and incorporates appropriate genetic provenance.
Botanic gardens can therefore restore diverse and ecologically resilient places, avoiding the dangers and pitfalls associated with growing inappropriate plants in the wrong environment. They have recently come together to form Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens (ERA).
Resources on Ecological Restoration
BGCI and IABG's Species Recovery ManualEcological Restoration, Plant Conservation / Publication / English
BGCI's Species Recovery BriefsEcological Restoration, Services for Botanic Gardens, Plant Conservation / Publication / English
Dry woodlands restoration in Pakistan's Punjab provinceTree Conservation, Ecological Restoration / Publication / English
Forest Restoration Learning ModulesTree Conservation, Ecological Restoration / E-learning module, Video / English, Spanish, French, Swahili