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Botanical Garden 101

As landscape architects, Clouston Design Studio has a very deep relationship towards plants. Therefore, we decided to write about botanical gardens as we believed it has a tremendous benefit for plants. Read below to find out and please comment or email us if you would like us to share about any topics relating to landscape architecture.

Perdana Botanical Garden, Kuala Lumpur

"What is a Botanical Garden?"

A traditional botanical garden is known as a 'living museum' where it is focused primarily on attractive displays of living plants with the purpose of scientific research, plant exploration and plant taxonomy. Apart from that, its basic scope has been broadened up as a response towards documenting the world’s plant diversity. In 2018, Botanical Garden Conservation International (BGCI) upgraded the definition of a botanical garden to focus more on conservation as a key element of their program and mission, especially for rare and threatened plants species. Hence, botanical gardens now play an important role in national conservation strategies.

Bali Botanical Garden, Indonesia

One of the ways, botanical gardens play a part role in plants conservation is in maintaining and conserving plant material through ex situ and in situ which is restoring threatened population, establishing plant living, and seed collection. This approach can contribute to the recovery of threatened plant species. Apart from that, during the mid-20th century, botanical gardens started to open publicly and welcomed the public to become community attraction in large part due to their beautiful plant displays and lush aesthetics.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, United States of America

Nonetheless, the earth is undergoing a drastic loss in terms of its plants' diversity and ecological ecosystem. Scientists have estimated that there are about 390,900 plant species around the world and approximately about 21% now nearly in the phase of extinction. This is due to rapid urbanization, extensive industrialization, over-exploitation and over-consumption.

"How can we save our plants from extinction?"

Botanical gardens could make their contribution towards saving our plants. According to experts, ‘ex-situ’ conservation is one way in maintaining the original habitat of plant diversity hence the activities of botanical gardens should be expanded to help protect our plants. It is the process of protecting an endangered species outside its natural habitat by removing part of the population from a threatened habitat and placing it in a new location, an artificial environment which is similar to the natural habitat of the respective plant and within the care of humans. This is where a botanical garden can be used as an 'artificial environment'.

Botanical Gardens can also be used for seed banking which is the process of storing plant seeds to preserve genetic diversity. Seed banking is extremely useful as storing a whole range of plants can be done in bulk and the cost is cheap. In addition, by using taxonomy which is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, this act can describe and define the units of biodiversity for the plants during the ‘ex-situ’ conversations and 'in situ' conservations to ensure the survival of plants not only in the botanical gardens but in their natural habitats.

Kyoto Botanical Garden, Japan

Saving our plants and its ecosystem in a changing world is a huge challenge but botanical gardens can be one of the solutions for preserving plant diversity. Therefore, it is pivotal that we play our role in ensuring our botanical gardens thrive in order for a better future.

Hopefully this post would be useful for all the upcoming and current landscape architects on this journey in landscape architecture

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