Malawi’s national tree, the Mulanje Cedar, occurs naturally only on Mulanje Mountain. This valuable timber tree is now Critically Endangered as a result of over-exploitation and fire. A new project led by BGCI, the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust and the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi, will restore populations of Mulanje Cedar on the mountain and generate alternative sustainable income sources for communities relying on the timber.
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BGCI has published the first global survey of ex situ ebony collections, commissioned by Missouri Botanical Garden. Our report highlights that 76% of ebony taxa are not represented in ex situ collections, lacking this vital conservation measure that could save them from extinction.
The Global Survey of Ex situ Ebony Collections was commissioned by Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) as part of their Global Ebony Assessment.
The 14th World Forestry Congress is taking place in Durban, South Africa this week, hosted by FAO, the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. BGCI is participating to promote how their programs and botanic gardens from around the world are contributing to conservation of forest genetic resources and building forest resilience, both of which are essential in the face of continued forest degradation and loss, and a changing climate.
BGCI’s Global Seed Conservation Challenge will challenge and support botanic gardens to work outside the gardens walls to collect, bank and therefore conserve seed of threatened plant species towards Target 8 of the GSPC.
Target 8 of the GSPC calls for ‘at least 75 per cent of threatened plant species in ex situ collections, preferably in the country of origin, and at least 20 per cent available for recovery and restoration programmes by 2020’.
As incoming Secretary General, I would like to pay tribute to Sara Oldfield, my predecessor, who has helped to build an organization in BGCI that I believe provides a unique and invaluable service to its members and more generally to the plant conservation community worldwide. Like Sara, I believe that the most important issue we need to address as a professional community is the loss of plant diversity. We can do this by bringing our unique, knowledge, skills and resources to bear to prevent species extinctions and by sharing that knowledge with broader society.
BGCI’s PlantSearch database is the only global database of living plant, seed and tissue collections currently containing over 1,200,000 collection records provided by over 1,000 institutions. The database connects living collections, aiding conservation, research and education efforts on plant species; particularly those listed as threatened, rare or with medicinal properties.
15 December 2014
Professor Stephen Blackmore, Chairman of BGCI, is delighted to announce that, following a search process that attracted an exceptionally strong field of candidates, Dr Paul Smith has been appointed as the next Secretary General of BGCI and will take up the post in February 2015. Well known internationally for his leadership of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, Paul brings a wealth of experience in plant conservation and research to the role.
Montgomery Botanical Center just received an award to study Mission Based Collections Planning. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [MA-30-14-0123-14]. The grant will fund research to develop a plan for managing MBC’s population-based living collection of Zamia lucayana, a group of cycads endemic to The Bahamas.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International-US (BGCI-US) is seeking an Executive Director. Please forward this announcement to anyone who might be interested. Feel free to contact Abby Hird or Jim Affolter (BGCI-US Board President, cc'd) with any questions.
BGCI is pleased to welcome The Morton Arboretum as a new patron garden. The Morton Arboretum and BGCI have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding to work together on global tree conservation and The Morton has generously seconded a Global Tree Conservation Officer to work with BGCI. The Morton has committed to support BGCI's red listing activities and strengthen the Global Trees Campaign in the U.S.A.