Botanic Gardens as Communicators of Plant Diversity and Conservation
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.
KeywordsPlant 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)
Gisela Gaio-Oliveira acknowledges support from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BPD/65886/2009).
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