Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.

The Rufford Foundation

The Rufford Foundation has generously supported BGCI’s core and programme activities since 1998.

The support of The Rufford Foundation (formerly The Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation) has been important in our recent work:

From 2010 to 2012 support from The Rufford Foundation enabled BGCI to continue their work to promote the role of African botanic gardens in tree conservation and forest restoration.  

In 2010 The Rufford Foundation provided support for BGCI to undertake a survey of native trees held in ex situ collections in East Africa. This culminated in a report published in 2011 entitled 'Botanic gardens, endangered trees and reforestation in Africa' which concluded that more than 30 species of trees that are globally threatened are in ex situ conservation collections in the botanic gardens of Kenya, Uganda and DRC. These collections provide a valuable resource for forest restoration efforts as a source of planting material. The potential for African botanic gardens to be further involved in forest restoration projects as part of the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens is currently being developed drawing on the findings of this study.

In 2011, Sara Oldfield, Secretary General of BGCI, visited two botanic gardens in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Kisantu Botanic Garden which maintains an arboretum with mature specimens of a range of important and threatened timber species, and Kinshasa Botanic Garden which has a strong focus on environmental education. A tree red listing workshop facilitated by the IUCN was held in DRC and subsequently Sara Oldfield prepared guidelines on red listing commercial timbers, which were translated into French.

In 2012, The Rufford Foundation provided support for BGCI to undertake a review of progress in tree red listing in Africa. This study illustrated that further work is needed to carry out new, and update existing, conservation assessments of tree species across Africa, something which BGCI, as Secretariat for the IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist Group, is actively working towards. 


Driving the GSPC 2020 forward: Throughout 2011 and 2012 The Rufford Foundation has supported the work of BGCI to drive progress towards the GSPC targets, through the development of the GSPC toolkit, regional capacity building workshops and the preparation of training materials, guidance documents and promotional materials about the GSPC.

Following discussions held during a stakeholder workshop in London in September 2010 and discussions at COP10 of the CBD in October 2010, a draft structure for the GSPC toolkit was developed. In January 2011, online consultation on the draft structure was undertaken with stakeholders. Responses were received from 68 countries around the world and a report of the survey was circulated to participants. Further work and consultation was undertaken to develop the toolkit, and the toolkit website ( was publically launched in September 2011.

A wide range of tools and resources are accessible via the toolkit and the number of visitors to the website has increased dramatically. The progress made was acknowledged by the Parties to the CBD and BGCI was requested to translate the website into the 5 other UN languages, which are now available on the website. BGCI continues to develop the toolkit and the support provided by The Rufford Foundation is acknowledged on the toolkit website.

In 2012, three regional capacity building workshops were held; in South Africa in February, in Greece as part of the European Botanic Gardens Congress in June and in Mexico in parallel with BGCI’s 8th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in November. The workshops focused on subjects such as raising awareness of the GSPC and current gaps in implementation. Participants reported that the workshops were very valuable and provided an important opportunity to network with colleagues from their region.

Support from The Rufford Foundation assisted in the preparation of materials to support GSPC implementation, including a flier linking the GSPC targets to the targets of the CBD Strategic Plan, the ‘Guide to the GSPC’ (available in English, French, Spanish and Chinese) and a further brochure on the GSPC (available in English, French and Spanish). These materials have been widely disseminated and used in workshops in various countries around the world.

BG Journal: The Rufford Foundation supported publication of a special issue of BGJournal in July 2012 (Volume 9.2) that includes a summary of the Wild Plants for Rural Livelihoods project, undertaken with support from Defra, together with papers from botanic gardens around the world that are working on livelihood issues.

The Rufford Foundation has also provided support for previous BGJournal publications, such as BG Journal Volume 6.1 which was themed ‘Ecological restoration and the role of botanic gardens’. It was guest edited by the Director of RBG Kew, and articles described the specific focus and work of several botanic gardens in responding to this challenge.  The journal was distributed to BGCI members, and delegates at two conferences. BG Journal Volume 6.2 was also published with the help of The Rufford Foundation. This issue which was themed ‘Botanic gardens addressing sustainability’, was distributed to delegates attending two 2010 conferences on Sustainability in the Public Education Sector.


Previous support from The Rufford Foundation contributed to the following projects:

Cultivation at BaVi National Park in Northern VietnamMedicinal Plants in Vietnam  This programme in BaVi National Park in Northern Vietnam developed a model for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. It conserved two native plants: Stephania dielsian - a plant used in the production of anti-inflammatory and tranquillizer drugs; and Ardisia gigantifolia which is used for stomach ache and tuberculosis. Traditional Dzao and San Diu herbalists living adjacent to the park became engaged in conserving both species, and hundreds of plants have been reintroduced into the area.

The 7th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in Durban, South Africa This event in November 2009 was hosted by BGCI, and attended by 110 delegates from 23 countries. The congress showcased how gardens are using education to contribute to the Global strategy for plant conservation and Millennium Development goals. Participants developed plans to encourage environmental justice, address climate change and highlight the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. There were 43 papers and 20 posters presented, and 33 workshops held.  Financial support enabled the congress organisation and publication of the materials. 


We continue to be impressed by the work being done by BGCI

Terry Kenny, Trust Director, Rufford Foundation