International Congress for Conservation Biology: is horticulture a conservation problem or solution?

The 28th International Congress for Conservation Biology was held from July 23rd to 27th in Cartagena, Colombia.
A session entitled “Tackling over-collection of wild plants – is horticulture a conservation problem or solution?” included the six talks listed below:

  1. Lauren Gardiner (Conservation Science, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)The stamp-collector’s dream: are private horticultural collections species’ saviours or drivers of extinction?
  2. Lucas C. Majure (Dept. of Research, Conservation and Collections, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, United States) and Olwen M. Grace (Comparative Plant & Fungal Biology, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, United Kingdom): Ex situ conservation of succulent plants: examining tensions in horticulture
  3. Tatiana Arias (Biodiversity Research Coordinator, CIB, Colombia)Horticulture as strategy for in-situ and ex-situ orchid diversity conservation in the Colombian Andes
  4. Sophie Williams (University of Bangor, Wales / Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, China): [tbc: xate, Belize, harvesting for traditional use, cultivation to alleviate pressure on wild populations, economic models]
  5. Susanne Masters (Independent ethnobotany consultant, UK): Horticultural propagation versus wild collection for commercially viable yields
  6. Jenny Botha (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg): Commercial viability of nurseries established to address the wild plant trade

Dr Lauren Gardiner, a research fellow at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, highlighted the work of Plant Heritage as part of her talk. She emphasized the need for the scientific community to recognise private collections, and in particular documented National Collections, as key allies in plant conservation. She used the example of Dr Michael McIllmurray, Scientific Collection Holder for Maxillaria, whose collection of plants, drawings and herbarium specimens, was recently handed over to Kew Gardens.
The importance of involving the public was also noted, with a scheme such as the Plant Guardians allowing anyone to talk part in plant conservation, while still offering a good traceability for plant material.

The session was recorded, and I will add a video to this post when it is made available.

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