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Report of the 1st World Botanic Gardens Congress, Asheville, U.S.A.

Volume 3 Number 5 - December 2000

Peter S. Wyse Jackson

The 1st World Botanic Gardens Congress was held in Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.A. from 26th to 30th June, 2000.  The Congress combined the annual meetings of the American Association for Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA) and the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) with BGCI’s 6th International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress.  It was hosted by the North Carolina Arboretum and held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville.


BGCI would like to thank the staff of our partner organisations, AABGA and CPC and the hosts, the North Carolina Arboretum who made the World Botanic Gardens Congress such a great success. We would especially like to thank Carla Pastore, Executive Director of AABGA and her staff and Board; Faith Maddy and the staff and Board of CPC and Dr Jim Affolter, the Chair of the Program Committee.

Our grateful appreciation and thanks are also due George Briggs, Director of the North Carolina Arboretum for his unfailing vision and enthusiasm, and all of his staff at the North Carolina Arboretum, especially Nann Guthrie, Congress Coordinator, Angie Chandler, Director of Public Programs, Linda Wilkerson, Development Director, Ron Gordon, Director of General Services, as well as their volunteer teams headed by Gerry Hardesty.

We are also grateful to the hundreds of delegates who participated so fully in the meeting, presenting lectures and workshops, preparing poster papers and moderating sessions and helping in so many ways to ensure that the Congress achieved its aims and provided a lasting legacy for the botanic garden community through the network links fostered throughout the world.

The American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA), Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) and the North Carolina Arboretum wish to recognise and thank the following sponsors of the first World Botanic Gardens Congress, held in Asheville, NC, USA on June 25-30, 2000.  The tremendous success of the Congress was due in large part to the commitment and support of these organizations. We thank these sponsors for recognizing the importance of this historic event.

Blue Ridge Goldenrod Sponsors
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Southern Spicebush Sponsors
National Climatic Data Center
The North Carolina Arboretum Society
North Carolina Gardens*
Mitsubishi International Corporation Foundation
USFS Southern Research Station
Van Wingerden Greenhouse Company

*    (North Carolina Gardens)
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
North Carolina Botanical Garden
The Biltmore Estate
J. C. Raulston Arboretum
North Carolina Zoological Park
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
The North Carolina Arboretum

Mountain Heartleaf Sponsor
The Grove Park Inn Resort
USGS–Biological Research Division

Single Flowered Sandwort Sponsors
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Carolina Power & Light
First Citizens Bank and Trust Co.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere Foundation
University of North Carolina
USGS–Biological Research Division, Eastern Regional Office

Bronze Sedge Sponsors
Berends Hendricks Stuit Insurance Agency, Inc. and The Hartford Insurance Co.
Clyde Savings Bank
Fine Gardening
O’Brien/Atkins Associates, P.A.
USDA Forest Service, Region 8
US Airways
British Airways Assisting Conservation

Conservator Sponsors
Asheville Parks and Recreation Department
Daniels Graphics
Grand Marnier Foundation
Landmark Realty
Marshall Tyler Rausch, LLC
Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Asheville, Inc.
Richmond Hill Inn
Southern Highlands Craft Guild
Taylor Made Marketing
Verizon Wireless
Western Carolina University

The theme for the Congress was “Partnerships within and beyond the Garden” and it brought together a wide range of organisations and individuals representing the botanic garden community worldwide to present a unique and exciting event.  The Congress focussed on a broad range of issues relating to the work in botanic gardens in biodiversity conservation, environmental education and sustainable development, as well as considered methodologies and priorities in regard to botanic garden management, administration and development.

By any measurement this was the largest meeting ever held of botanic gardens.  The Congress was attended by about 1,000 delegates from 42 countries.  There were nine plenary speakers who presented valuable overviews on key issues facing botanic gardens worldwide.  In addition, there were eight concurrent sessions with a choice of up to eight workshops held during the five days of the Congress.  Additional presentations were made by means of an extensive poster session.  A range of satellite meetings and meetings of national and regional botanic garden networks were also held and an enjoyable social programme of events, including a Gala Reception, Barbeque Hoedown and an International Banquet.  Pre- and mid-congress tours were also arranged to visit gardens and natural habitats in the Asheville and North Carolina region.  During the Congress, delegates were also hosted at the North Carolina Arboretum, where its activities were show-cased and wonderful hospitality received.

The venue of the Congress was the town of Asheville, a highlight for many delegates.  Asheville is located at the convergence of the Great Smoky and the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain chain which traverses the south-eastern United States, from north to south.  The flora is extremely diverse as it was an area that was not glaciated and, because of its altitude, it is the most southernly habitats for Canadian and circumboreal species.  The floral decorations throughout the Congress used native plants and were superb.

The logistics of a Congress of this size would have been impossible without the volunteers who were always on hand to help.  The volunteers also produced an excellent fully illustrated daily newsletter, which was distributed to all participants to provide them with news of the major highlights of the previous day and announcements.

On the opening day of the Congress, the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation was launched.  The text of the presentation by Dr Peter Wyse Jackson (BGCI Secretary General) of this new global policy document for botanic gardens is presented elsewhere in this issue of BGCNews.  The aim of the International Agenda is to plot the future direction for botanic garden actions in biodiversity conservation worldwide.  At the Congress priorities and actions needed for its implementation were considered, and how the International Agenda can be adopted and implemented by individual botanic gardens throughout the world.  Copies were distributed to all Congress participants and have subsequently been sent to all institutional members of BGCI and to contributors.  Further copies can be obtained from BGCI.


The following text represents the summary conclusions from each of the sessions held during the Congress, compiled by the moderators and presented to all delegates at the final plenary session of the Congress.

Administration Track

Session Title: Balancing the Books: Financial Planning and Development for Botanic Gardens
Moderators: Dean Runyan and Donald M. Gordon

Business plans are one of a suite of integrated tools used to guide development in an organization - others include annual budgets, individual work plans and so forth.  By developing a Business Plan a realistic vision and priorities can be established.  Botanic gardens need a clear plan of action and commitment and as part of this process it is healthy to get people to do an independent review of the institution.  Business planning and fundraising operate within cultural and socio-economic contexts; finding a balance between funding sources can be challenging.  Business planning is a dynamic process and needs a flexible, adaptable approach as the future changes at least every 5 years.

The session highlighted that:
  • Although challenging, Business Planning is a vital process in ensuring that strategic goals are met in a financially sustainable manner
  • It is essential to know the target audience to ensure the success of a new venture
  • There is a vital need for monitoring and evaluation in the implementation of business plans, particularly as considering the rapidly changing world.

Session Title: Getting with the Programs: Information Technology for Modern Botanical Gardens and Arboreta
Moderator: Anukriti Sud

The Congress participants noted that information technology (IT) investments are large overall, though they may be only a small fraction of the operating budget of a large institution.  They concluded that the scalability problem for a small garden needs to be discussed and related issues need to be resolved.  Furthermore, they noted that deciding on how to approach IT can be very confusing, and that IT professionals are definitely needed.  Strategies on how small gardens can fund staff positions for IT need to be developed.  Training needs were highlighted as the top priority.

The session highlighted that:
  • There is a need for larger botanical gardens to help the smaller ones in information exchange issues
  • A workshop is needed (determined by end user needs) for helping to resolve some of the problems mentioned above and in the session
  • Sharing databases (information) across institutions is a high priority

Session Title: Building a Brand Plan that Works for Public Gardens
Moderator: Karl Lauby

Market research is an important part of building a brand.  Examples of building a brand from the New York Botanical Garden and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden were given.  Building an effective brand is used to move an institution to a desirable position insofar as programmes and funding is concerned, and this needs to be monitored and assessed closely.

The session highlighted that:
  • Gardens need marketing and brand development
  • Expertise currently in botanic gardens is scarce but this is changing
  • The marketing needs and opportunities for botanic gardens should be higher on the agenda’s of networks such as BGCI and AABGA.

Session Title: Information Management Software Potpourri
Moderator: Diane Wyse Jackson

The session focused on presenting the range of available software applications for botanic gardens currently in use in botanic gardens in several countries for the management of information, labelling, mapping and data communications.  Electronic data management for botanic gardens is clearly a developing area, particularly through the use of the Internet to support inter-institutional communications and co-operation, an essential element in supporting biodiversity conservation programmes.  

The Congress participants noted:
  • The range of software presented demonstrated the importance of developing innovative electronic data managing techniques for botanic gardens.  The need for the development of more software applications to support fund-raising was specifically highlighted
  • Alternative approaches between using generic software applications and in-house developed software was discussed, and the participants recommended that whichever option was chosen, botanic gardens must ensure that the systems implemented is well documented, so that continuity is assured if and when staff changes occur
  • That training needs for staff in botanic garden in computer technology and information management is an urgent priority, to help ensure that data management standards are raised in botanic gardens

Session Title: Entering Data Bytes! Byte Back and Make Information Technology Work For You!
Moderator: Kimberlie McCue

This session demonstrated how collections data may be utilized with a little innovation and the right technology.  By using collections data effectively the scientific and educational value of collections can be increased, support mission statements, and be more successful at gaining funding.  Development and utilization of database technology is important to easily record and track the legal status of plants in collections (e.g. status under CITES, ESA etc).

Session Title: Making our Dreams a Reality: Priorities for Capacity Building in Developing Countries
Moderator: Donald M. Gordon

Botanic gardens in developing countries face a range of challenges in developing programmes that support the conservation and sustainable use of plants.  These often include limited finance, lack of trained expertise, and varying degrees of support, financial and otherwise, from government.  In this session, a range of fundraising strategies were presented and discussed, in order to ensure that strategic goals are met while ensuring sustainability of the organisation.

The session highlighted that:
  • An appropriate range of fundraising strategies (culturally sensitive) need to be explored and adopted, therein supporting strategic goals of the botanic garden
  • Fundraising approaches to explore include government support, private enterprise/corporate funding, international donors, and a range of garden schemes including entrance fees, hiring of facilities, sale of products and horticultural services, and hosting of special events
  • Partnerships at local, national and international levels need to be developed in order to build institutional capacity and meet strategic goals

Session Title: The Meaningful Garden
Moderator: Christine Flanagan

Carefully designed gardens promote visitor learning and shape the visitor experience.  When the design is driven by 'meaning' drawn from the mission statement and specific themes, there is greater fulfilment of the garden's mission and a more successful and satisfying visit for our audience.

The session highlighted that:
  • Gardens designed to promote public awareness need careful design if they are to reach visitors effectively and truly influence the knowledge base and attitudes of visitor
  • Meaningful design of gardens to deliver conservation messages requires more than specifying plants and writing interpretative signs – it may require changes in virtually all divisions of the garden
  • Informal learning can be a very powerful tool for changing visitor attitudes and increasing their knowledge base.  Because it happens with or without careful thought, we need to understand how to shape informal learning to deliver our messages

Session Title: Publication Design Review
Moderator: Maria Klein

Communications design must serve the values, mission and marketing/business objectives of an organisation.  Establishing a visual identity system will help strengthen the impacts and effectiveness of an organisation’s communications initiatives.  Comprehensive planning creates an essential framework for effective communication.

The session highlighted that:
  • Horticultural institutions need to devote more resources to the development of effective communications initiatives in order to raise awareness of their work.
  • Horticultural institutions must raise their awareness of their name, identity and role as community leaders through effective communications, in particular through strong identification systems.

Session Title: Volunteer Orientation Kit Exchange
Moderator(s): Bill Johnson

There is a need to develop a handbook for volunteers, along with decent visitor services.  Volunteers need to be recognised for their role and there needs to be emphasis on the diversity of the organization.

The sessions highlighted that:
  • Partnering with other similar organizations needs to occur instead of being in competition with each other.
  • The message was share, share, share and network.

Session Title: Idea Exchange: Building and Measuring Public Relations Programs
Moderator(s): Karl Lauby

Public gardens are better managed, better funded, better appreciated, and better utilized than ever before.  It is important within organizations to build a public relations team that is innovative and dynamic, and willing to fight their corner for resources and profile within an organization.  Available technology needs to be used to support public relations programmes; including using the WEB, digital photos and television.  In order to keep ahead, it is important to research and know the audience, and to produce compelling stories and engage in practices that produce results - this includes publicising good quality products; building relationships with editors, producers and reporters; and listening to visitors.

The session highlighted that botanic gardens and conservation organizations need more public relations, communications, and marketing resources.

Session Title:    Volunteer Power in Plant Conservation
Moderators:    Mary Yurlina, Bill Brumback

Volunteers are absolutely necessary to all aspects of plant conservation due to a scarcity of funding for positions.  Training, mentorship and sense of accomplishment are essential to develop a successful program.

This session highlighted that:
  • Lack of training personnel is acute in plant conservation, due largely to a lack of funds.
  • Educational programs at all levels (secondary, post secondary) are important sources of labour and can contribute critical botanical data.
  • Volunteers become important advocates of plant conservation.

Session Title: Volunteer Recognition Day: A Consortium Approach
Moderator: Betty Spar

Volunteers are ambassadors for an institution and play a vital role.  Their role needs to be acknowledged regularly to ensure high morale.  This can be done face to face as well as by hosting annual events to acknowledge their contribution to the institution.  This session highlighted that congresses and meeting programmes need to ensure that they include volunteer programmes in their schedules.

Session Title: Development and Fundraising Ideas Exchange
Moderators: Donald Gordon and Faith Maddy

In the world in which we live, botanic gardens need to explore new and innovative strategies and partnerships to ensure financial viability. Traditional sources of support are less certain and in many cases are being reduced. Support also hinges on botanic gardens maintaining relevance to the communities in which they serve.

This session highlighted that:
  • Having strategic vision and developing a professional image are pre-requisites to raising funds
  • Long-term programmatic support is preferable to project support, which has a finite lifespan and impact.
  • New partnerships with institutions operating within the wider realm of sustainable development need to be explored; this includes partnerships with the corporate sector.
  • Provide opportunities for people to spend funds; culturally-based events and themes are often very effective.
  • There is a need to make and keep friends.
  • New technologies (i.e. Web) will become increasingly important tools in activities such as raising institutional awareness and researching funding sources.

Session Title: AABGA's Emerging Partnerships
Moderator: Carla Pastore

Partnerships can and should be beneficial to both partners and must be carefully considered before entering them.  The best partnerships are between parties that agree philosophically and ethically in mission or purpose.

Session Title: Development Issues in College and University Gardens
Moderator: R. Marc Fournier

With respect to development, no gift is ever too small, and one never knows where gifts will come from. It is also important to build partnerships with on and off campus individuals and groups to find financial support for the garden. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask wealthy people for support in building new gardens and strengthening existing ones will promote and improve biodiversity and sustainable management practices.

Biodiversity Conservation Track

Session Title: Integrated Plant Conservation - Determining Global Priorities
Moderator name: Peter Wyse Jackson

A panel of speakers presented the Gran Canaria Declaration to the Congress and reviewed its call for the establishment of a global strategy for plant conservation.  Delegates considered and discussed the possible elements of such a strategy.  They stressed that it should be wide-ranging and cross-cutting in scope, including: the integrated (in situ and ex situ) conservation of plants; the need for extensive programmes in research, monitoring and the management of information; the importance of public education and raising awareness of the plight of plant diversity; and recognising the social and economic benefits of plant diversity.

The conclusions of the meeting were that:
  • Congress delegates welcomed and endorsed the Gran Canaria Declaration as a general framework for the development of a global plant conservation strategy and acknowledged the important decision made by the Convention on Biological Diversity at its 5th Conference of the Parties in Nairobi in May, 2000, to consider the development of such a strategy.
  • The Congress agreed that botanic gardens could and must play a central role in the achievement of such a global strategy for plant conservation, in which their work can be placed within the framework of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation.
  • The Congress resolved to forward the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation to the Convention on Biological Diversity as a contribution by the botanic gardens of the world towards this strategy.

Session Title: Extreme Measures to Meet Extreme Conservation Needs: The Hawaii Experience
Moderator: Charles Lamoureux

The Hawaiian flora is highly endangered.  24% of native vascular plants are federally listed as endangered, 28% more are listed as threatened, candidates for listing, or species of concern, 48% of species are not yet at risk of extinction in the next few years.  With 0.2% of the total land area of the US, about 50% of all US listed endangered plants are Hawaiian.  While Hawaii is an extreme example, the floras of many other island groups are also in extreme jeopardy.  This session considered efforts in exploration, monitoring, ex situ techniques, and restoration projects underway and integrated efforts involving Federal and State agencies, NGO conservation groups, botanic gardens, private landowners, and individual volunteers are being co-ordinated by the Hawaii Rare Pant Recovery Group organised by the CPC-Hawaii office.  This has proved a successful pathway leading to restoration projects of about 25 species.

This session agreed that:
  • Ex situ conservation may be the only avenue available to assist in conservation and restoration of very rare plants.  In many cases continued monitoring and management (esp. pollination) may be necessary over the long-term to retain wild or restored populations.
  • One should never give up – even if only one plant of a species is left all possible efforts should be made to propagate it.  When more plants are available, all possible efforts should be made to retain the maximum possible genetic diversity that remains.

Session Title: Island Biodiversity Conservation – Plants on the Edge
Moderator: David Bramwell

The participants concluded that, in view of the fact that about 20% of the world's flora is made up of insular endemics, found on only 3.6% of the land surface area, and about 20,000 of these are threatened, botanic gardens should give considerable priority to saving island plants and that they are ideally suited to do this.

The session suggested that:
  • Priority should be given to creating new botanic gardens on islands and to strengthening existing gardens.
  • Priority should be given in botanic gardens to those threatened insular endemics with very small populations.
  • Case studies of island plants would make excellent propaganda and education material for the role of botanic gardens in conservation.  This should be a priority issue in education.

Session Title: Conservation of Lower Plants: New Opportunities for Botanic Gardens
Moderator: Jan Rammeloo

A strategy needs to be put in place for the creation of conservation collections for lower plants. For bryophytes, detailed systematic studies remain necessary; the genetic variation is higher than is generally accepted. Any conservation strategy needs to take account of this. Further, the micro-propagation protocols are still experimental. Concerning fungi, gardens have to make an inventory, especially for the ectomycorrhizal species and develop codes of practice in order to protect these fungi in-situ in the garden.  Concerning pteridophytes, in-situ as well as ex-situ conservation protocols have to be developed. Special emphasis has to be given to centres of biodiversity, taking account of the fact that ferns and their allies are good habitat discriminators and thus are vulnerable.

The session highlighted the following:
  • Detailed systematic studies have to underpin the development of a conservation strategy as the genetic variability is higher than generally accepted and in most cases still rather unknown. This is especially necessary when developing ex-situ conservation collections.
  • Within garden niches suited for cryptograms, growth can be created and garden managers have to be informed about techniques and practices in order to conserve and promote in-situ conservation of species. These collections make a most valuable resource for education. Specific education programs also need to be developed.
  • In situ and ex situ conservation of pteridophytes has to put emphasis on biodiversity centres taking account of the knowledge that most pteridophytes are very vulnerable to habitat change and habitat fragmentation.

Session Title: Re-stocking Nature - Botanical Institutions as Partners in Ecological Restoration
Moderator(s): Steve Clemants and Mary Yurlina

Botanic gardens are an appropriate and important venue to do restoration studies.  Many different types of partnerships are possible including universities, land-owning agencies etc.

This session highlighted:
  • The need to develop partnerships with a diverse array of groups.
  • The need for basic research
  • The need to work at a variety of scales, landscape, community, population.

Session Title: Catalyzing Community Partnerships: A Conservation Role for Every Garden
Moderator: John Ambrose and David Galbraith

Botanic gardens can be effective partners in projects on sustainable gardens in city landscapes, including gardens that educate, enhance and preserve diverse cultures, make cities more liveable and even provide food.  Real community action and participation is needed to make projects successful.  Cultural, ethnic and environmental sensitivity are all needed.

The session highlighted that:
  • Botanic gardens are key partners in developing sustainable city landscapes.  The International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation (IABGC) should be promoted with government and NGOs involved in sustainable and healthy cities as a flagship document reinforcing that role.
  • The IABGC should be used to reinforce the capacities of gardens in supporting ethno-diversity as an important part of sustainable development.
  • Botanic gardens’ influence does not end at the front gate.  The IABGC should be used to raise awareness of the roles of our institutions with city officials, politicians and the public.

Session Title: Poster Sessions - Practical Applications of Plant Conservation Strategies
Moderators: Virginia Wall and Joseph Nkefor

In identifying international partners, it is important to have a clear mission, to carefully select targets, to fund site visits and to develop lasting relationships. Aspects of co-operative agreements and equity sharing between partners includes: clarifying motives; building institutional trust; and encouraging staff exchanges and reciprocal capacity building. As an example, the North Carolina Zoo plays an important role in the inventory and stewardship of natural areas; this involves appropriate partnerships and capacity building of partner institutions.

This session highlighted priorities in:
  • Funding for regional travel and how to get it for ‘networking’ and capacity development.
  • Partnerships between zoos and gardens in developing and developed countries. Also, how to make the connections between institutions.
  • Explore practicalities of commercialising genetic stock for fund-raising potential and benefit-sharing.

Education Track

Session Title: Education for Biodiversity Conservation
Moderator: Gail Bromley

Education for Biodiversity is key to the programmes of botanic gardens, arboreta and reserves and will facilitate the implementation of CBD and Agenda 21.  All relevant institutions hold many unique strengths to develop awareness and understanding of the fragile and important nature of our biodiversity.

Recommendations from this session include:
  • Internal staff of institutions, including education staff should have a good background understanding of the issues/articles of CBD and Agenda 21, particularly as they relate to the expertise/collections of botanic gardens.
  • Education staff should be encouraged to develop programmes that utilize a variety of approaches for their different audiences including games, role-play, sensory exploration, storytelling etc.
  • Education programmes do not always need to relate heavily to scientific content but work well when incorporating cultural/artistic and ethnobotanical components.

Session Title: Managing a Children’s Garden: Survivor’s Tales
Moderator(s): Maureen Heffernan

Many botanic gardens are in the process of building children’s gardens, therefore there is a need to share information on how to best design and create effective visitor interaction and education outcomes.  Adding a children’s garden to an organisation has tremendous benefits for attracting new visitors, getting children to learn about plants, and increasing memberships.

This session highlighted that:
  • Children’s gardens offer a unique powerful and effective site to teach youth and families about plants and their importance
  • Children’s gardens should be designed of sustainable design concepts.
  • Children’s gardens should contain native/regional plants to educate visitors as to the local flora.

Session Title: Partnerships with Schools: Reaching the Teachers
Moderator name(s): Ann Parsons

The session raised important points about the need to work with local systems to identify their needs and limitations and work with local schools to identify joint projects which will benefit both institutions.  There is also a need to identify the needs/concerns of the local community so that environmental education does not end at the school day.

The session highlighted the need to:
  • Develop and promote botanic gardens as partners for environmental education to schools – collaborate with teachers regarding ways to bring their classes to the garden.
  • Develop programs in collaboration with the local schools focussed on environmental education.
  • Work with the local school system to identify their needs and develop programs/curricula that address those needs.

Session Title: Setting the Stage for Poetry, Art and Folklore
Moderator name(s): Duane Dick

This session highlighted that:
  • Botanic garden education programs are valuable forms of outreach beyond the borders of the garden.
  • Botanic gardens fulfil and refresh the spirit and soul.
  • Botanic gardens emphasise the sense of place that the garden inhabits, i.e., endemic regionalism.

Session Title: Idea Exchange: Partnerships in Education
Moderator: Mary Olien

Nine presenters from seven states, one African nation and New Zealand gave descriptions of their partnerships, addressing the name of the partnership, the partners, the program goals, the target audience, a brief description of the program activity, the cost or fee, publicity or dissemination methods and the evaluation methods. The session was designed to allow participants to share ideas with the audience.

The main results from the session were that:
  • The presentations allowed participants to hear a range of ideas and connect a face to a place. The personal connection encourages networking for strengthening programs and personal professional development.
  • The goals of the partnerships presented which included increasing understanding of Californian habitats; encouraging family visits to gardens, nature centres and environmental education centres; strengthening formal science education and teaching, foster professional development for isolated curators of special collections.
  • The presentations will encourage other educators to develop partnerships with a wide variety of groups to accomplish their own institutional goals.

Environmental Issues and Global Strategies Track

Session Title: Convention on Biological Diversity - Global Conservation Policy for Plants
Moderator: Peter Wyse Jackson

This session considered the ways in which botanic gardens can address the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at an institutional level.  The participants noted that the use of botanic gardens' collections and the application of their skills in areas such as botanical research, taxonomy, horticulture, environmental education and practical integrated conservation contribute significantly to its implementation.  Furthermore, the participants noted that botanic gardens provide a major link between in situ and ex situ conservation and are frequently involved in national planning processes such as biodiversity strategies.  Participants acknowledged that the CBD will have an increasing impact on the way botanic gardens operate in all parts of the world.  Some aspects of the elements of botanic garden institutional policies relating to the CBD were considered.  The value of sharing data on conservation collections and programs was also noted to make such information to CBD implementation authorities at a national level.

The Congress participants recommended that:
  • Botanic gardens should develop institutional policies relating to their implementation of the Biodiversity Convention and their compliance with its provisions.
  • Botanic gardens should seek to harmonise their policies with other botanic gardens relating to the implementation of the provisions of the Biodiversity Convention, particularly in areas such as access to their collections and benefit sharing.
  • More botanic gardens should undertake institutional reviews, or ‘CBD-audits’, to identify the ways that botanic gardens are already contributing to CBD implementation and to suggest priorities for future roles.

Session Title: An Introduction to International Conventions-Finding Your Way in a Sea of Acronyms
Moderators: Etelka Leadlay and David Galbraith

The Congress participants recognized that botanic gardens are vital partners for government and other bodies involve in achieving biodiversity conservation and implementing environmental and heritage conventions.  Conventions can provide governments with reasons to recognise the specific contributions of botanic gardens.  Conventions vary immensely in their mode of operation and expected results.  Delegates acknowledged that botanic gardens need to understand principles of successful partnerships and be proactive in seeking to play a role in the implementation of relevant environmental conventions.  The International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation was recognised as providing a framework for botanic garden contributions to the implementation of these conventions.

The Congress participants recommended that:
  • Botanic gardens should be active participants in the evolving work program and structures of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Botanic Gardens Conservation International was urged to work to enhance its role in coordinating and monitoring the contributions of botanic gardens in implementing international environmental conventions and strengthening its role as an international clearing-house for botanic gardens in conservation.
  • Botanic gardens and their networks should seek to develop action plans applicable at local, regional and national levels and develop information resources relevant to the national policy and legal environment for raising public awareness on these issues.

Session Title: International Twinning - Is There a Future for Sister Garden Links?
Moderators: Peter Wyse Jackson and John Kress

The session reviewed the operation of international inter-institutional co-operation, especially highlighting the value of twinning relationships between botanic gardens to enhancing the development of botanic gardens and their programmes in many parts of the world.  A number of successful cases studies of institutional twinning were presented and guidance was provided for participants contemplating the development of new one-to-one relationships with other botanic gardens.  The session noted that close co-operation between botanic gardens in many parts of the world has been an important characteristic of the botanic garden community over the last few decades and should continue to be fostered.  Participants considered that botanic gardens should develop a wide range of cooperative linkages with a diverse range of institutions and should not limit their twinning links only to botanic gardens.

The Congress delegates recommended that:
  • BGCI should seek to develop an international initiative to foster close cooperative and twinning initiatives between botanic gardens in all parts of the world, involving national and regional botanic garden and plant conservation networks in its implementation.
  • Botanic gardens should play an active role in developing cooperative linkages worldwide, particularly to support biodiversity conservation, environmental education and capacity building.
  • International guidelines to support twinning and other forms of cooperative linkages be developed and urged BGCI to undertake this task.

Session Title: Towards a Conservation Ethic for Gardens
Moderators:  Sarah Reichard and Peter White

This session worked to revise draft statements on three conservation subjects: Ex situ conservation, cultivation of rare and/or common native species, and non-native invasive species.  Five groups actively discussed the drafts and provided numerous excellent points and ideas that will be incorporated into the drafts.

This session found that:
  • Even though there were international participants in drafting the statements, there was a North American bias in many items such as property rights.  More international participation is needed.
  • The discussion needs to move forward so a list server will develop at the University of Washington, initially of session participants.  It will also be facilitated and expanded by BGCI.
  • Once reasonable agreement is reached the statements and explanatory material will be presented to the Boards of CPC, AABGA and BGCI.  The results will also be discussed at the IUCN Global Invasive Species Program Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa in September 2000.

Session Title: Green Housekeeping for Botanic Gardens
Moderator: Lucy Sutherland

Botanic gardens worldwide play an important role in science, research, horticulture and education.  In the past few decades have become important centers for biodiversity conservation and contribute significantly to sustainable development.  Presenters during this session showcased their gardens and explained how their botanic gardens have incorporated sustainable practices into their daily operations.  

This session highlighted the need for botanic gardens to:
  • Incorporate sustainable practices into their daily operations.
  • Build the capacity of staff to implement and have ownership of these practices.
  • Develop institutional policy on sustainability practices.

Horticulture and Collections Track

Session Title: Building Towards Tomorrow: Considerations in Designing and Building a Retrofitting Greenhouses
Moderator: Barbara Faust

This session highlighted that greenhouse basic design and structures have not changed over time.  Each speaker agreed that glass was the preferred covering.  Most changes in greenhouse technology have been in the area of environmental controls.

This session recommended that advances in the development of energy conservation measures for greenhouses are required in botanic gardens.

Session Title: Ideas Exchange: Sustaining Scientific Collections and Research in the 21st Century
Moderator: Brian Boom

The central value of plant collections - living and preserved - to the educational, scientific and conservation missions of botanic gardens and arboreta must be better explained to all stakeholders in order to ensure continued and increased support of collections and the research that derives from them.

The Congress participants noted that:
  • Genuine partnerships are vital to future support of plant collections: donors increasingly expect it and the complexity and urgency of the challenger of plant conservation demand it.
  • Mechanisms must be devised to ensure international plant conservation roles for small to medium sized botanic gardens and arboreta seeking to engage global conservation issues in ways that the larger institutions currently can with relative ease.
  • New powerful technologies such as genomics and informatics must be embraced and incorporated creatively into botanic gardens and arboreta, thus giving new relevance and value to plant collections.

Session Title: Building on our Past: Conserving the Historic Garden for Today’s Needs
Moderator: Gianni Bedini

Historic botanic gardens offer a distinct blend of plants, architecture, statues, ponds, animals and other components.  They embrace such a wide variety of natural and man-made elements, they can attract partnership from many sectors of our society, local communities, land management agencies, corporate investors, cultural associations, art lovers and many more.

They must take special care to ensure that their public facilities and collections are always kept orderly and clean and schedule regular restoration actions.  These gardens must also ensure that they cater for a diversity of visitors and their needs, including the disability community, ethnicity, the elderly and children.  Historic institutions are places of endearment for people and therefore their evolution must be carefully managed in order to ensure that its features are retained for future generations.

This session highlighted the need for botanic gardens to:
  • Keep up with current safety regulations and access policies.
  • Ensure that additions to new buildings and collections conform to the highest possible quality and design that provide a legacy for future generations.
  • Find partners who can help them seek recognition for their valuable actions in the conservation both of cultural and natural heritages.

Session Title: Gardeners at Public Gardens: What Role do They Play in Collections Development?
Moderator(s): Carol Bornstein and Steve Forbes

Several areas were highlighted during this session including: Horticulturists who maintain collections need to be involved in developing them in order for the collections to be successful; Horticulturists’ core skills are in horticulture and need to work in a team with other professionals; involvement in collections development is an important part of professional development for horticulturists; cultural issues affect the opportunities for horticulturists’ involvement and create challenges for the institution; and the importance of planning is paramount although balancing planning and operational needs (i.e. maintaining the collections) is a challenge.

The Congress participants noted that:
  • Partnerships between botanic gardens in developed and developing countries can provide opportunities for training and development for both partners.
  • Ex situ conservation collections are only likely to survive and prosper if horticulturists are involved in establishing and developing these collections.
  • Horticulturists provide on-site interpretation of collections, and their passion and knowledge can powerfully convey an institution's conservation message to the visitor.

Session Title: Exotic Plants: Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Moderator: Johnny Randall

Invasive exotic plant species are a serious threat to natural and managed ecosystems worldwide.  Botanic gardens and arboreta have, and continue, to contribute to this problem by promoting actually and potentially invasive plants.  Botanic gardens and arboreta have a clear responsibility to adopt and demonstrate to the public a strong environmental ethic.

This session highlighted the need for botanic gardens to:

  • Ensure that biological diversity is protected from the ecologically disruptive effects of invasive exotic plants, re-evaluate current collections and future accessions with risk assessment programmes.
  • Engage and educate fellow botanic gardens and arboreta, the horticulture industry, and the public about the importance of choosing and displaying ecologically responsible plant collections.
  • Support, contribute to, and share research that identifies problems and provides solutions to the ecological problems caused by invasive exotic plant species.

Session Title: The 1990s: Public Horticulture’s Decade of Natural Disasters
Moderator: James Burghardt

Public gardens are the stewards of plant collections and should ensure that best practices are in place so that the negative (destructive) impacts of natural disasters do not detrimentally effect conservation, preservation, educational and operational endeavours.  Risk assessments must be undertaken now so that when the disaster strikes, plant and human resources survive in the response and recovery efforts at all public gardens.

This session highlighted that:

  • As global warming and its effects are realised and better understood, gardens must be prepared for the implications of changed climate - including shifts in natural ecosystems, changes in climatic regimes, and perceived/projected increases of natural hazards and intensities.
  • Gardens must share natural disaster experiences with each other in order to lessen the negative impacts and hard lessons on fellow gardens that have a mission pertaining to documenting, conserving and promoting plant resources.

Session Title: Developing Botanic Gardens in Arid Regions
Moderator: Ian Oliver

Desert gardens hold ‘the key’ to world horticulture in so far as they grow a variety of colourful ‘water wise’ desert plants.

This session highlighted that Desert gardens:

  • Must network and not work independently
  • Try to reintroduce lost desert plants back to their natural areas
  • Continue to cultivate ‘water wise’ arid plants, some of which are rare
  • Combine desert fauna and flora within the botanic garden


Regional Session Track

Session Title: Preserving Genetic Diversity: NAPCC
Moderator: Dave Barrett

AABGA originally established the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) for two primary purposes: (1) to act as a mechanism for elevating the standards of curatorial management of plant collections and (2) to co-ordinate a continent-wide effort among botanical gardens for the conservation of plant germplasm and biodiversity. Interest and momentum is building.

In this session, many reasons for joining were presented and many ideas for strengthening the program were discussed as follows:

  • Strengthen partnership between AABGA and the USDA's National Plant Germplasm System, which are indeed programs with common goals
  • Promote the NAPCC to AABGA members and others to encourage more institutions to join. Develop target list of priority collections that especially should be encouraged to join.
  • Strengthen communication with CPC and other organizations with sympathetic goals to build on each other's strengths.

Session Title:     Botanic Gardens in the Caribbean: Diverse Approach to Biodiversity Conservation
Moderators: Peter Wyse Jackson and Julia Kornegay

The region of the Caribbean Basin is rich in plant biodiversity and endemic species. Because of its special island biogeography, the flora and natural areas of the Caribbean region are highly threatened by rapid urban development, tourism, agro-enterprises, invasive exotic pest plants, pollution, and the fact that many endemic species are found in micro-regions. Botanic gardens in the Caribbean can play a critical role in conservation and in raising public awareness.

The highlights of the session were that:

  • The regional network of Caribbean Botanic Gardens for Conservation (CBGC) aims to strengthen Caribbean botanic gardens to conserve the regions biodiversity through collaborative conservation, research and educational programs, and through the sharing of resources and information.
  • The IABGC endorses and welcomes the establishment of the CBGC network.
  • The IABGC supports the CBGC network in its efforts to strengthen Caribbean botanical gardens in their critically important efforts to conserve regional plant biodiversity and to raise awareness of the need for biodiversity conservation within the region.

Session Title: Latin America – Building on our Firm Foundations
Moderator: Maricela Rodriguez Acosta

Sharing the experiences of botanic garden networks has been useful in the development of new networks.  How well botanic gardens are developed is proportional to the intensity of activity of the networks in each country.  Therefore the responsibility of each network is considerable.  Nevertheless if networks continue to work in this way the conservation of plants will be ensured.

The conclusions of the meeting were to:

  • Develop botanic gardens networks in those countries where they do not exist at present.
  • Increase the exchange of information and experiences between the networks that exist in Latin America.
  • Improve horticultural training in all Latin American botanic gardens.

Session Title: Tropical Africa – A Botanic Garden Network in the Making
Moderator: Fiona Dennis

There is a need to draw together the existing African biological networks as a means of linkages for biological information from Africa.  This could be implemented though the development of a web site and though hard copy publications.  There was a request that Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as a neutral partner, facilitate an African network by producing the African Bulletin.  There is also a need to explore and establish linkages and partners worldwide and develop a strategic planning approach at local, national, regional and international level as well as establish a mailing list (both post and e-mail).

The meeting also recommended the following:

  • That there should be an inventory of botanic gardens and existing partnerships, looking at problems and the possible means of addressing them, as well as detailing existing and potential projects and including a needs SWOT analysis.  The National Botanical Institute of South Africa could facilitate the African botanic gardens needs assessment and consultation process.
  • That a 1st African botanic garden network meeting to be held in Africa in 2002, in co-operation with Botanic Gardens Conservation International.  The theme of the meeting to be called ‘Partnerships and Linkages’ with international networks invited.  There needs to be a lobby for funding to make this meeting possible and enable participation of as many staff as possible from Africa’s botanic gardens.
  • African botanic gardens develop brochures and publicity for project ideas and possible partnerships. A coordination body is to be set up following the 2002 meeting to publicise all African botanic garden project proposals and to act as a facilitator to approach potential funders.

Session Title: United in our Concerns – Botanic Gardens of the European Union
Moderator: David Rae

This session was concerned with the European Botanic Garden Action Plan.  The main conclusions during this session were that: it is essential to inform staff about the Action Plan and to describe its relevance to them; it is vital to use the Action Plan to best public relations effect and to distribute to politicians and decision makers; a means must be devised to implement the Action Plan in individual gardens and it was agreed that national networks have a role to play in getting the Action Plan implemented in gardens.  

Finally, it is recognised that the role of non-EU Botanic Gardens is important and the following was recommended:

  • Continued networking on a national and international level is essential.
  • The work of botanic gardens in in situ and ex situ conservation measures must be increased.
  • It is essential to promote the Gran Canaria Declaration to relevant bodies at national levels.

Session Title: The biodiversity of the Southern Appalachians and Conservation Strategies Underway to Protect It
Moderator:    George Briggs

Conservation efforts must be integrated in their approach and adaptive to changing circumstances. They also require a multi-disciplinary and broad geographic approach. It is important to capture the nature of regional biodiversity in detail as a foundation for research and recovery efforts.

The session highlighted the importance of:

  • Integrating conservation efforts with a broad consortium of partners
  • Conservation measures based on sound inventory and monitoring in order to be effective
  • Following a comprehensive plan for conservation, such as that being developed by The Nature Conservancy


Science and Research Track

Session Title: Student Research in Public Horticulture
Moderator: Cynthia Davis Klemmer

This session provided a forum in which professional entering or returning to the field of public horticulture presented the findings of their research.  Congresses and meetings provide great opportunities for discussions on new and emerging issues in the field of public horticulture.  Student research has recently focussed on juvenile offender programmes in public horticulture, Junior Master Gardening Programmes, using visitor and residential surveys to ascertain public opinions in issues.

Congress delegates recommended that botanic gardens should:

  • Increase the emphasis on the implementation and presentation of research at botanic garden meetings and congresses to help facilitate the continued growth and professionalism of this field, and provide valid facts to support continued funding and growth.
  • Ensure student involvement in botanic garden meetings and congresses, at both graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • Investigate opportunities for sponsorship to provide student scholarship opportunities.

Session Title: Rooting Out the Problem of Invasive Species
Moderator: Brian Huntley

Extensive experiences from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland identified the alarming ecosystem impacts and cost of control of aliens, making specific recommendations to implement the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation as below:

  • The need to establish national weed lists/surveillance lists to monitor and control the impact of potential invasives.
  • Develop site/species based control methods, including integrated pest management, to apply within national strategies.
  • Botanical gardens to regionally comply with regulations regarding invasive aliens and to act as information/education rile to public and as horticultural industry as to the identity and dangers of alien weeds.

Session Title: Science for Conservation
Moderator: Stephen Blackmore

Botanic gardens offer unique expertise and opportunities for conservation research. There is much to be learned about the taxonomy, properties and requirements for growth of plants.  International collaboration is vital for the future and the Global Plant Conservation Initiative provides a much-needed focus to this effort.

The session highlighted the need to:

  • Apply the latest research methods, such as molecular biology, to understanding biodiversity at the genetic level, in addition to the species and habitat levels.
  • Develop and share experience of best practice in plant conservation science so that this knowledge can be effectively applied to current and future efforts in habitat restoration.
  • Promote hands-on approaches to plant conservation in situ, using the unique skills to be found in botanic gardens and related institutions.


Sustainable Development Track

Session Title: Ecotourism and Botanic Gardens
Moderator: Lucy Sutherland

With increasing urbanisation, visiting botanic gardens may be the only opportunity for some city dwellers to visit a natural or semi natural setting and botanic gardens could play a role in expanding ecotourism from the traditional non rural setting into the cities.  There is potential for tourism operations to better serve the needs of large market segments by using botanic gardens while delivering the principles of ecotourism.  If botanic gardens work with operators and review the potential role in ecotourism there could be excellent opportunities to expose botanic gardens to a wider audience and create a much-needed income.

The conclusions of the workshop were that:

  • Botanic gardens should support the Convention on Biological Diversity and the global mission of botanic gardens by working towards developing sustainable tourism standards and practices in areas such as infrastructure and servicing.
  • Botanic gardens can support nature-based tourism and ecotourism through supporting operator, tourism agencies, and forming networks and partnerships to promote local culture and regional qualities.
  • Botanic gardens can contribute to conservation and sustainable development by show-casing native plants where natural habitats don’t exist and raising awareness of plants, their uses and products.

Session Title: Historic Fruits – An Endangered Heritage
Moderator: John Fitzpatrick

Tree fruits introduced into North America represent valuable genetic resources for future breeding as well as valuable cultural artefacts.  Apples and pears, temperate zone species, were the focus of presentations.  Conservation of such material is an important goal of plant conservation.