Birmingham Botanical Gardens is active in conservation both globally and locally. As an educational charity our focus is particularly on bringing conservation issues to the attention of our paying visitors and through our link with the Birmingham Education Authority our visiting school groups. The urgent need for conservation of biodiversity and sustainability are our key messages.
This is the variation of life forms within a given geographical area. Maintaining biodiversity maintains the variety and richness of life. The year 2010 has been declared as the International Year of Biodiversity. (Click http://www.defra.gov.uk/ for DEFRA’s web-page on biodveristy).
This is the process by which biological systems can be exploited for all our needs and yet remain diverse and healthy for the future.
Think globally – act locally
This phrase is widely used to remind us all of the need to understand on a world scale our impact on the natural world and that action on a local scale is necessary as part of the global changes needed to make our lives sustainable. What follows is some of the work we do for global and local conservation.
- Thinking globally
The garden is an active member of Plantnetwork an organisation that links all of the botanical gardens in the UK and encourages joint action on plant conservation both here and abroad. We are also member of BGCI (Botanical Garden Conservation International) which links together botanical gardens across the world.
The most important initiative for plant conservation and particularly for Botanical Gardens is the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. 181 Countries throughout the world have agreed through the Convention on Biodiversity to try and halt the extinction of plant species. The GSPC plan set sixteen targets and progress towards them will be checked this year 2010. (Click here to see the relevant CBD publication). As an educational charity the most important target we can make a contribution to is:
TARGET 14: Communicating & Educating:
The importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, educational and public awareness programmes.
We publish an article every season on the wider threats to plant conservation in our members’ newsletter and how you can help by supporting charities and conservation initiatives around the world and here in our own city.
The Gardens participate in the International Conifer Conservation Programme (ICCP). Not every conifer is a leylandii hedge and some are highly endangered ancient species. The Botanical Gardens is an ICCP ‘safe site’, there are many across the UK and Ireland, where some of these extremely rare conifers are grown. If these plants become extinct in the wild it is hoped that they can be reintroduced from the garden populations held in the British Isles.
Our collection of over 7,000 plants from all around the world include many rarities and some plants that are extinct or close to extinction in the wild. These are used in our teaching programmes as well as contributing to keeping these plants growing.
- Acting locally
The gardens support many local conservation initiatives and charities that promote the improvement of Birmingham’s environment including Birmingham Trees for life.
Our site includes highly manicured gardens and wilder areas which are ideal for wildlife.
The main areas for wildlife are the Woodland Walk, Butterfly Border, Native Wetland Area and our nature reserve. For an appreciation of the amazingly diverse wildlife found in and around the gardens check our Wildlife Areas.