Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 325–333 | Cite as

Saving Europe’s threatened flora: progress towards GSPC Target 8 in Europe

  • Suzanne Sharrock
  • Meirion Jones
Original Paper


The European flora is of global significance but many species are facing an ever increasing range of threats, especially the growing impacts of climate change. While various estimates have been made for the number of threatened plant species in Europe, an up-to-date European plant Red List does not presently exist. Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) calls for 60% of threatened plant species to be conserved in ex situ collections by 2010. In the absence of a European plant Red List, it is difficult to monitor progress at the regional level towards this target. To address this gap Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has developed a consolidated list of European threatened species as a step towards a formal Red List. The database consists of national Red List data from 28 European countries and includes records for over 11,000 taxa. National Red List data were supplemented by information on the critically endangered plants of Europe provided by the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle/European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity and the Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest. A list of regionally threatened species was extracted from the database and screened against BGCI’s database of plants in cultivation in botanic gardens (PlantSearch) and ENSCONET’s (European Native Seed Conservation Network) database of plants conserved in European seed banks. This analysis revealed that 42% of European threatened species are currently included in ex situ conservation programmes in Europe.


Plant conservation Ex situ Seedbanks Botanic gardens Red Lists 



We are indebted to ENSCONET for providing access to their database and assisting with data analysis. In this respect, we gratefully acknowledge the help and support provided by Stephane Riviere and Steve Waldren.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botanic Gardens Conservation InternationalRichmondUK

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