The Botanical Review

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 559–577 | Cite as

What is the Conservation Value of a Plant in a Botanic Garden? Using Indicators to Improve Management of Ex Situ Collections

  • Angelica Cibrian-Jaramillo
  • Abby Hird
  • Nora Oleas
  • Helen Ma
  • Alan W. Meerow
  • Javier Francisco-Ortega
  • M. Patrick Griffith
Article

Abstract

Living botanic garden plant collections are a fundamental and underutilized worldwide resource for plant conservation. A common goal in managing a botanical living collection is to maintain the greatest biodiversity at the greatest economic and logistic efficiency. However to date there is no unified strategy for managing living plants within and among botanic gardens. We propose a strategy that combines three indicators of the management priority of a collection: information on species imperilment, genetic representation, and the operational costs associated to maintaining genetic representation. In combination or alone, these indicators can be used to assay effectiveness and efficiency of living collections, and to assign a numeric conservation value to an accession. We illustrate this approach using endangered palms that have been studied to varying degrees. Management decisions can be readily extended to other species based on our indicators. Thus, the conservation value of a species can be shared through existing databases with other botanic gardens and provide a list of recommendations toward a combined management strategy for living collections. Our approach is easily implemented and well suited for decision-making by gardens and organizations interested in plant conservation.

Keywords

Botanic gardens C-value Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii Leucothrinax morrisii Conservation genetics Ex situ conservation, living collections 

Resumen

Las colecciones vivas en jardines botánicos son una parte fundamental y poco utilizada en la conservación de plantas a nivel mundial. Un objetivo común en el manejo de las colecciones botánicas vivas es mantener la mayor biodiversidad al menor costo económico y logístico. Sin embargo hasta ahora no existe una estrategia unificada para el manejo de plantas vivas dentro y entre jardines botánicos. Aquí proponemos una estrategia que combina tres indicadores para establecer prioridades de manejo de una colección: información acerca del riesgo en estado silvestre de la especie, representación genética, y los costos operativos asociados a mantener la representación genética. En combinación o solos, estos indicadores pueden ser utilizados para evaluar la efectividad y eficiencia de las colecciones vivas, y para asignar un valor numérico de conservación a un espécimen. Demostramos esta estrategia con palmas que tienen diversos tipos de estudios e información disponible. Decisiones de manejo basadas en nuestros indicadores se pueden extender y aplicar fácilmente a otras especies de manera similar a como lo demostramos aquí. Además, el valor de conservación de un especie puede ser compartido con otros jardines botánicos utilizando bases de datos pre-existentes y así proveer una serie de recomendaciones hacia el manejo integrado de las colecciones vivas. Nuestra estrategia se puede implementar fácilmente y es apropiada para la toma de decisiones en jardines y organizaciones interesadas en la conservación de recursos en plantas.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelica Cibrian-Jaramillo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Abby Hird
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nora Oleas
    • 6
    • 7
  • Helen Ma
    • 2
  • Alan W. Meerow
    • 8
  • Javier Francisco-Ortega
    • 6
    • 9
  • M. Patrick Griffith
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratorio Nacional de Genómica para la Biodiversidad (Langebio)Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN (Cinvestav)IrapuatoMexico
  2. 2.The New York Botanical GardenBronxUSA
  3. 3.Montgomery Botanical CenterMiamiUSA
  4. 4.Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S.GlencoeUSA
  5. 5.The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard UniversityBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  7. 7.Centro de Investigacion en Biodiversidad y Cambio ClimaticoUniversidad Tecnologica IndoamericaQuitoEcuador
  8. 8.USDA-ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research StationNational Germplasm RepositoryMiamiUSA
  9. 9.Center for Tropical Plant ConservationFairchild Tropical Botanic GardenMiamiUSA

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