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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Genetic Characterization, Genetic Improvement, and Best Horticultural Management Practices for Subtropical/Tropical Ornamental Germplasm

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

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

Authors
item Cibrian-Jaramillo, Angelica -
item Hird, Abby -
item Oleas, Nora -
item Ma, Helen -
item MEEROW, ALAN
item Francisco-Ortega, Javier -
item Griffith, Patrick -

Submitted to: Botanical Review
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 24, 2012
Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Citation: Cibrian-Jaramillo, A., Hird, A., Oleas, N., Ma, H., Meerow, A.W., Francisco-Ortega, J., Griffith, P.M. 2013. What is the Conservation Value of a Plant in a Botanic Garden? Using Indicators to Improve Management of Ex Situ Collections. Botanical Review. DOI 10.1007/s12229-013-9120-0.

Interpretive Summary: 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.

Technical 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.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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