4 Important Roles of Botanic Gardens
Recently, I had a chance to visit the local botanic garden and it was one of the best educational experiences I ever had. If there is a botanical garden or arboretum near you then consider making a trip. Botanic gardens aren’t just tourist attractions. They also serve an important purpose to our environment through the form of education and conservation. These four roles, in particular, will give you further reason to support them and their initiatives.
1. Ex-situ Conservation
Conservation can come in many forms. There are two ways of categorizing conservation efforts by institutions like botanical gardens, ex-situ and in-situ. Ex-situ conservation involves the preservation of biological diversity outside of the natural habitat. An example of this at the botanic garden I visited is a seed bank, which is where they store and conserve seeds from all kinds of plant species. Whether it’s due to human-induced factors like GMO or natural mechanisms like cross-pollination, the genetic diversity of plant species across the world can be reduced over time due to such processes so having seed banks help with retaining the genetic profiles of imperiled or rare plant species.
2. In-situ Conservation
Not all conservation efforts happen within the confines of a garden. In-situ conservation involves the preservation of biodiversity in the natural habitats. As I was doing more research, I came across the Ecological Restoration Alliance, a global consortium of botanic gardens with a mission to actively engage in ecological restoration. This form of conservation is common in places like national parks and sanctuaries.
3. Educational Activities
Turns out botanic gardens offer fun and interesting workshops and classes. Examples include photography classes, gardening workshops, landscape design workshops, and floral design classes. Search online for your local botanic gardens and see what kind of workshops they offer. As a keen photographer, there is probably no better place for me to snap nature photography than at a botanic garden.
4. Research & Development
Research is a core aspect of a botanic garden’s mission. As you may suspect, a lot of the research revolve around plant science. Growing our knowledge around studies like horticulture and taxonomy is important as the world continues to change.
As you can see, botanic gardens serve a number of important roles to not just the environment but to our community as well. Hopefully, you’ll be just as inspired as I was after making a trip to a botanic garden. If you have any great stories to share with our readers then please contact us and we will add to this page.
Published on November 30, 2016 by Sam Choan.