Saving the World’s Threatened Plant Species
Paul Smith, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), discusses the approaches, methodologies, and milestones being employed by botanic gardens and arboreta around the world—including here at The Huntington—to protect rare and threatened species from becoming extinct. BGCI is the largest plant conservation network in the world, representing a network of 800 member botanic gardens in 100 countries, along with some 60,000 scientists, horticulturists and educators. This network already conserves and manages more than 90% of plant families, 50% of genera, and 30% of species in its living collections and seed banks. Following the example of the crop conservation community, BGCI's botanic garden-centered Global System for the conservation and management of plant diversity aims to collect, characterize, and conserve all of the world's rare and threatened plants as an insurance policy against their extinction in the wild.