The Botanical Review

, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 282–302 | Cite as

Botanic Gardens as Communicators of Plant Diversity and Conservation

  • Gisela Gaio-Oliveira
  • Ana Delicado
  • Maria Amélia Martins-Loução


This paper presents a unique survey on the role of botanic gardens as educational institutions that communicate plant diversity and conservation. An online survey was created to evaluate the present strategies developed by botanic gardens from all over the world to their visiting public. Dependent on their resources, either human, financial or both, all of them look for the accomplishment of Global Strategy for Plant Conservation’ target 14, promoting education on plants and awareness on human impacts in plant diversity loss. However, an educational group/department is more common in botanic gardens owned by the central government compared to the private, non-profit botanic gardens. The diversity of activities on plant diversity and conservation is influenced by the size and the number of staff in the garden. Only half of the surveyed botanic gardens have rooms exclusively assigned for educational activities and even less have garden spots for the same purpose. Online resources are particularly restricted to North America and Oceania botanic gardens. Although climate change is a brand new subject that could attract public to the garden, the most part of the gardens address biodiversity and plant identification as major themes of communication. Besides species label information and interpretation panels, self-guided visits, guided visits or activities/workshops are the common offers for public attraction. School visitors are still less than half of the total visitors and cover children from 6 to 13 years-old. These follow more guided visits and activities while general public choose self-guided visits.


Plant conservation Science communication Public awareness Environmental education Public education Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 



Botanic Gardens Conservation International


Convention on Biological Diversity


Global Strategy for Plant Conservation


Global Partnership for Plant Conservation


International Union of World Conservation Union (previously called the International Union for Conservation of Nature)


United Nations



Gisela Gaio-Oliveira acknowledges support from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BPD/65886/2009).

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gisela Gaio-Oliveira
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ana Delicado
    • 4
  • Maria Amélia Martins-Loução
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Botanic Garden from the National Museum of Natural History and ScienceUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental ChangesFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Ciência Viva – Agência Nacional para a Cultura Científica e TecnológicaLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa - Laboratório AssociadoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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