Plant Diversity ›› 2017, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (06): 331-337.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2017.11.003

• Articles • Previous Articles    

Botanic gardens should lead the way to create a “Garden Earth” in the Anthropocene

Charles H. Cannona, Chai-Shian Kuaa,b,c   

  1. a The Center for Tree Science, The Morton Arboretum, Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532, USA;
    b Science and Conservation, The Morton Arboretum, Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532, USA;
    c Shanghai Engineering Research Center for Urban Tree Ecology and Applications, Shanghai, 200020, China
  • Received:2017-05-15 Revised:2017-11-13 Published:2021-11-05
  • Contact: Charles H. Cannon

Abstract: The strength and expertise that botanic gardens bring to conservation are based on their detailed knowledge and understanding of the care, management, and biology of a diversity of plant species. This emphasis on the organism has led to many ex-situ and in-situ conservation programs aimed at protecting endangered species, restoring threatened populations, and establishing living plant and seed collections of endangered species. In China, the scale and pace of change in land and resource use, often leading to environmental degradation, has created a strong emphasis on improving environmental conditions. If done properly, being "green" can be a surprisingly complex issue, because it should encompass and exploit the whole of plant diversity and function. Unfortunately, ‘green’ often includes a small portion of this whole. Earth's rich plant diversity presents considerable opportunity but requires expertise and knowledge for stable and beneficial management. With the dawning of the Anthropocene, we should strive to live on a "Garden Earth", where we design and manage our environments, both built and natural, to create a healthy, beneficial living landscape for people and other organisms. The staff of botanic gardens worldwide and the living collections they maintain embody the best examples of sustainable, beautiful, and beneficial environments that thrive on plant diversity. This expertise should be a fundamental resource for agencies in all sectors responsible for managing and designing "green" infrastructure. Botanic gardens should actively engage and contribute to these opportunities, from large public infrastructure projects to small private conservation efforts. Here, we discuss several ongoing conservation efforts, primarily in China, and attempt to identify areas where botanic gardens could make a significant and meaningful difference.

Key words: Green infrastructure, Botanic garden, Ex-situ conservation, In-situ conservation, Botanical garden