Botanical gardens are the best hope for threatened plant species
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Botanical gardens work like a oasis for many endangered species of plants. They contain about two-thirds of all plant species and families, offering shelter and conservation to the threatened ones. However, a recent study reveals this diversity is not so widespread all over the world, and most species grown outside their natural habitat are found in the northern hemisphere.
Researchers assessed the biodiversity of botanical gardens
The study, published in the journal Nature Plants, reveals about 60 percent of temperate plant species are found in botanical gardens. However, these gardens contain only 25 percent of tropical species. This is a bit peculiar, since most plant species existent on the planet have a tropical origin.
To come up with these results, researchers analyzed the databases on all known plant families, which currently document a number of 350,699 species. Then, they compared this data with information from 1,116 botanical gardens in the world, and managed to find out how diverse the ecosystems are in these institutions.
Botanical gardens should harbor more threatened species
Botanical gardens are vital for threatened species, as they provide a haven for these plants, and an ecosystem where they are always protected. However, these places only have 10 percent of their space available for such species. Their storage capacity can be improved, and it would be of crucial importance for their preservation.
In fact, botanical gardens are the best places where such plants can be protected. These gardens are already storing a lot of the threatened species, but there’s room for more. However, depending on how imminent their extinction is, these institutions should start storing plants according to their threat level.
Also, there are some delicate species which currently do not grow in any such gardens. Some of them might be threatened or not, but losing such species would be a harsh blow on the diversity. Therefore, we should focus on protecting all plants, and preventing them from going extinct.
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