Working towards a collaborative approach for plant conservation: the Global Conservation Consortia
NOELIA ALVAREZ DE ROMÁN
Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Botanic gardens and arboreta offer the opportunity to conserve and manage a wide range of plant diversity ex situ, and in situ in the broader landscape. The rationale that botanic gardens have a major role to play in preventing plant species extinctions is based on the following: (i) there is no technical reason why any plant species should become extinct (ii) as a professional community, botanic gardens possess a unique set of skills that encompass finding, identifying, collecting, conserving and growing plant diversity across the entire taxonomic spectrum. Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is the pivotal centre of a global network of ca. 2,500 botanic gardens and arboreta, which includes living collections representing at least one third of known plant diversity; world class seed banks, glasshouses and tissue culture infrastructures, and technical knowledge networks covering all aspects of plant conservation. BGCI is promoting the concept of a cost-efficient, rational, botanic garden-centred global system for the conservation and management of plant diversity. Actions such as collecting, conserving, characterizing and cultivating samples from all over the world’s rare and threatened plants, would act as an insurance policy against their extinction in the wild. BGCI is establishing a series of consortia with specialist knowledge of particular genera that are technically challenging to conserve and manage. In alignment with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), these consortia will deploy their unique sets of skills for effective conservation of these genera to prevent species extinctions.