Species recovery programmes as an important component of ecological restoration: How restoration practitioners can learn from the botanic garden community

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Paul Smith

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The drivers for ecological restoration have increasingly to do with carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services, one consequence of which is that most restoration programmes comprise relatively few plant species with little or no emphasis on biodiversity conservation. This is a missed opportunity because many rare and threatened plant species could be incorporated into restoration programmes as part of species recovery strategies. While a few countries have well developed species recovery systems, most do not, and the situation is quite acute in the tropics where comparatively little action is undertaken. Moreover, most threatened species occur outside protected areas and, so far, efforts to address their conservation have been largely neglected. The Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens (ERA) is a global consortium of botanic gardens actively engaged in ecological restoration and species recovery. Botanic gardens, arboreta, and seed banks play a vital role in restoring degraded ecosystems, incorporating a wide range of indigenous species for biodiversity conservation, as well as carrying out targeted species recovery actions for threatened species. In this paper, we will give examples of how rare and threatened plants can be incorporated into ecological restoration programmes – a win:win for ecological resilience and for biodiversity conservation.

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Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration