Only a green world, rich in plants, can sustain us and the millions of other species with which we share this planet. But, in an era of global change, nature is on the retreat. Like the communities they form, many plant species are becoming rarer, threatened even to the point of extinction. The worldwide community of almost three thousand botanic gardens are holders of the most diverse living collections of plants and have the unique potential to conserve plant diversity. Conservation biology is a fast moving and often controversial field, and, as the contributions within these pages from experts in the field demonstrate, plant conservation is multifaceted, mirroring the complexity of the biodiversity it aims to protect, and striving not just to protect threatened plants but to preserve ecosystem services and secure the integrity of the biosphere.
1. Mounting a fundamental defence of the plant kingdom Stephen Blackmore and Sara Oldfield
2. Using DNA sequence data to enhance understanding and conservation of plant diversity at the species level Peter M. Hollingsworth, Linda Neaves and Alex D. Twyford
3. Conservation assessments and understanding the impacts of threats on plant biodiversity Malin Rivers
4. The role of botanic gardens in in situ conservation Jin Chen, Richard Corlett and Charles Cannon
5. The role of botanic gardens in ex situ conservation Paul Smith and Valerie Pence
6. The role of botanic gardens and arboreta in restoring plants: from populations to ecosystems Kayri Havens
7. Botanic gardens and solutions to global challenges Samuel F. Brockington and Beverley J. Glover
8. Cultivating the power of plants to sustain and enrich life: how public gardens can realise our purpose by focusing on the basic human needs universal to diverse audiences Sophia Shaw and Jennifer Schwarz-Ballard
9. Botanic gardens and conservation impact: options for evaluation Val Kapos and Sara Oldfield
10. Conclusions Stephen Blackmore, Sara Oldfield and Paul Smith
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Stephen Blackmore is Queen's Botanist and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (RBGE), and Chairman of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the UK Government's Darwin Initiative. He has formerly been Regius Keeper of RBGE (1999 to 2013) and Keeper of Botany at the Natural History Museum (1990 to 1999).
Sara Oldfield, awarded an OBE in 2016 for conservation and protection of wild tree species, is co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Special Survival Commission (SSC) Global Tree Specialist Group. From 2005 to 2015, she led the work of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) as Secretary General.
- Stephen Blackmore
- Sara Oldfield
- Peter M. Hollingsworth
- Linda Neaves
- Alex D. Twyford
- Malin Rivers
- Jin Chen
- Richard Corlett
- Charles Cannon
- Paul Smith
- Valerie Pence
- Kayri Havens
- Samuel F. Brockington
- Beverley J. Glover
- Sophia Shaw
- Jennifer Schwarz-Ballard
- Val Kapos