Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 175–187 | Cite as

Why are some biodiversity policies implemented and others ignored? Lessons from the uptake of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation by botanic gardens

  • Sophie J. Williams
  • Julia P. G. Jones
  • Colin Clubbe
  • Suzanne Sharrock
  • James M. Gibbons
Original Paper


International agreements and policies play an increasingly prominent role in strategies to combat biodiversity loss. However, conservation policies can only have a conservation impact if implemented. Identifying factors determining the influence of a policy on institutions could improve the process of policy development and communication. We examine how and why botanic gardens have responded to the first phase of a global conservation policy (the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation GSPC) using quantitative (questionnaires completed by 255 botanic gardens in 67 countries) and qualitative (in-depth interviews with five gardens in five countries) methods. We found that while the majority of gardens were aware of the GSPC, older gardens in the global north, and younger global south gardens are most influenced by the GSPC. Gardens that are members of a global botanic garden network and gardens with larger budgets are implementing more targets. Targets implemented tend to be aligned with existing institutional aims. Gardens highlighted an absence of a mechanism to feedback successes and failures. The GSPC has recently been reviewed and new targets for the period of 2011–2020 developed. To widen the influence of the GSPC, dissemination should include guidelines on how institutions could implement the policy, with particular focus on influencing younger global north gardens and older global south gardens. There are plans to develop a toolkit to help gardens better understand and implement the GSPC. We recommend the toolkit include a system for GSPC implementers to communicate with each other and to feedback to policy formulators.


Biodiversity CBD Conservation Convention on biological diversity GSPC Implementation Policy 



Global Strategy for Plant Conservation


Convention on biological diversity


Botanic gardens conservation international

Supplementary material

10531_2011_174_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (299 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 300 kb)
10531_2011_174_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (205 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 205 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie J. Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julia P. G. Jones
    • 1
  • Colin Clubbe
    • 2
  • Suzanne Sharrock
    • 3
  • James M. Gibbons
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environment, Natural Resources and GeographyBangor UniversityGwyneddUK
  2. 2.Conservation, Living Collections and Estates DirectorateRoyal Botanic Gardens, KewRichmondUK
  3. 3.Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Descanso HouseRichmondUK

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