Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is promoting the concept of a cost-efficient, botanic garden-centred global system for the conservation and management of tree diversity. The Global Conservation Consortia approach collects, conserves, characterises and cultivates samples from the world’s rare and threatened trees as an insurance policy against their extinction in the wild and as a source of plant material for human innovation, adaptation and resilience.
BGCI is establishing a series of conservation consortia with specialist knowledge of particular tree groups that are technically challenging to conserve and manage. Working with species experts, conservationists and the botanic garden community, and in alignment with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), these consortia use their bespoke skill sets to effectively conserve target genera to prevent extinctions.
The primary objectives of the Global Conservation Consortia are to:
- Establish and foster a network of experts in target groups to participate in Consortium activities
- Identify and prioritize species of greatest conservation concern (building on the outputs of the GTA) and plan conservation action for target groups
- Establish and manage coordinated ex situ collections of high conservation value to support in situ action
- Undertake and facilitate applied research (e.g. conservation biology, population genetics, taxonomy)
- Ensure that threatened species are conserved in situ
- Build capacity to empower and mobilize in-country partners in centres of diversity to act for target species in these areas
- Increase public awareness and engagement in tree conservation
- Raise funding to scale up conservation action for target groups
Four Consortia have so far been established, each focusing on a particular genus and steered by leading plant conservation institutions. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, are leading the Global Conservation Consortium for Rhododendron; the Morton Arboretum is leading the Global Conservation Consortium for Oaks; the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden is leading the Global Conservation Consortium for Acer and Atlanta Botanical Garden is leading the Global Conservation Consortium for Magnolia.
For more information about the Global Conservation Consortia, please contact Dan Crowley