Ecological Restoration

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).

Why Restore?

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.

Humans have transformed 50% of the land surface area of our planet, mainly for crop and livestock production.

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).

Restored forest 12 years on from Eucalyptus plantation. In 2001, before the work of Brackenhurst Botanic Garden had few native trees. Brackenhurst Botanic Garden has transformed the site planting many native trees and creating a large and mature forest on the site of a eucalyptus plantation. The forest is now home to 150 bird species, a wide range of mammals and hundreds of rare and endangered tree species.

Resources on Ecological Restoration

  • BGCI and IABG's Species Recovery Manual

    Ecological Restoration, Plant Conservation / Publication / English
  • BGCI's Species Recovery Briefs

    Ecological Restoration, Services for Botanic Gardens, Plant Conservation / Publication / English, Chinese
  • BGjournal

    Tree Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Conservation Prioritisation, Seed Conservation, Conservation Horticulture, Plant Conservation, Policy and Advocacy / Publication, BGCI Journal / English, French
  • Dry woodlands restoration in Pakistan's Punjab province

    Tree Conservation, Ecological Restoration / Publication / English
  • Forest Restoration Learning Modules

    Tree Conservation, Ecological Restoration / E-learning module, Video / English, Spanish, French, Swahili

Projects on Ecological Restoration


Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens

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Restoration in Uganda for people and biodiversity

This project is helping to ensure that Uganda’s Bonn Challenge pledge is delivered in a way that benefits biodiversity and improves livelihoods.
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