Role of Botanical Garden in Conservation of Environment
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Published: Mon, 09 Oct 2017
With the destruction and over-exploitation of forests, many plants diversity and species have been affected and forced to face the extinction. As we know, plants are the crucial part of biodiversity in our planet as they can provide the aesthetic values, cultural and economic benefits to us. For example, plants can provide the sources of food, medicine, shelter and clothing to most of the organisms in the world. Besides, plants are also the key determinant to maintain the balance of environment and biodiversity and help our ecosystem to achieve the stability. Without plants, many wild animals will place in the danger of extinction condition due to the loss of habitats. Much more natural disasters will also be occurred if the devastation of forests actions are being continuously such as cutting down the plants in the huge quantity from time to time. From these perspectives, we can clearly know that plants are essential to support the biodiversity and help us to achieve the sustainable development. However, what is the significance does plant diversity have for humanity? How much does the loss of plant diversity matter in our biodiversity? What resources should we be committing to its conservation? One of the reason why these are such difficult questions the answer lies in the enormous uncertainty associated with the loss of biodiversity. Which party is the most involved in the destruction of our biodiversity such as over-exploitation of forests and directly causing the pollution, global warming and climatic change? The answer is human being because they tends to satisfy their individual greed and vanity to achieve their materialistically life. Some of them are not aware with the significance and importance to protect and conserve our natural sources such as plants in nature. This probably is due to the lack exposure of the importance and benefits of plants that bring to our life and helps to support the ecosystem in our world. To protect our plant diversity, human being must be the leader and involved themselves in the conservation action such as building up botanical gardens because botanical gardens can help much in the plant conservation. Botanical gardens can also increase the awareness and understanding of publics towards the species of plants by some of the education and research purposes.
Significance of plant conservation
In the food chain, plants are mostly the primary producers to provide the food sources to secondary and tertiary producers. Plants are also the backbone of life to support the natural biological system in the Earth. This is because plants not only can provide the habitat infrastructure for many ecosystems, but also as the sources to prevent erosion and stabilize the soil systems. However, most of the plant communities throughout the world are under threat and approximate to extinction level. By the investigation and estimation of scientists, there are more than one-third or at least 100 000 species of plants are under the threaten of extinction.
What are the main threats that affect the extinction of plants diversity? This might be due to the destruction of habitat, over-collection of plant species and the invasive species. When a plant species loss the habitat, the whole ecosystem will be affected by the devastating influences, as other species also lose their food sources and habitats or shelters. Other than that, this may cause us to loss the natural resources to support our daily life because plants can be processed as the medicine, building materials and fuels. As a result, it is essential to carry out the plant conservation to support the development of livelihoods based on the sustainable uses of plants and as the promoter to advocate the understanding and sharing of the benefits and functions of plants. Plant conservation can also help to strengthen the measurement in controlling the unsustainable uses of plant resources.
In fact, plant conservation can be considered as a section of biological conservation because it focus on the conservation of the whole ecosystems and biodiversity to achieve the sustainable development. Plant conservation can enhance the long-term preservation, restoration and management of plant diversity and communities with the associated ecosystems and habitats. For instance, implement the in-situ and ex-situ conservation in which in-situ involved in the more natural and controlled environments whereas ex-situ mostly involved in the country of origin and only be applied when necessary.
Furthermore, plant conservation plays the vital role to encourage the conservation of native plant habitats in every local community. For instance, plant conservation get involved with the native plant groups such as botanical gardens, zoo, garden clubs and national parks. Education institutes and centers can also advocate and encourage the plant conservation program in their curricula to increase the awareness among their students. This is because plant conservation need the cooperation from every people protect the threatened plant diversity and communities.
Moreover, plants are crucial to us because it supports the functioning of every ecosystems and provides us with many direct advantages. Hence, it is necessary for us to aware the plants that are endangered to the extinction because plants are sustainably utilized and preserved for our future generations. If we need the long-term plant conservation of our natural resources, the sustainability utilization of plant and the sustainable living are necessary in general. However, in the contemporary day, we do not properly value the benefits of our natural resources to bring to us. Unfortunately, our activities tend to degrade and deplete them, even though they are essential for human-kind’s survival and well-being.
Additionally, plant conservation is important because extinction may occur anytime if there are the destruction of forests or without any care or preservation from human being. Plant conservation can also refer to the protection of our biodiversity from being endangered because plants can be the foundation of providing the advantages to biodiversity. The loss of plants can affect our water supply and atmosphere because plants possess the mutualism relationships between each others. Plants not only assemble the huge component of global biodiversity which approximately 320 000 species in the world, but also as the supplier to provide the major nutrient sources to food webs and provide the shelters to animals.
As a result, it is crucial to promote the significance and importance of plant conservation to publics. Due to this, the government, NGO, communication, research and education centers are very important to increase the understanding, awareness and consciousness of publics. For instance, government can collaborate with the private sector and NGO to maximize the potential action and synergies to support the plant conservation. Oppositely, communication, research and education centers can cooperate with other related organizations to improve the human resources, financial support and the physical and technological infrastructure as the efforts for the plant conservation.
Importance of botanical gardens
Botanical gardens are the parks that consist a wide variety of plants that labeled with their botanical name. Different type of botanical gardens contain different varieties of plants. For example, some of the botanical gardens mainly consist of the plants from some specific parts in the world like tropical plants and some might take form of a green house while some of the botanical gardens or parks emphasized on the different varieties of plants such as herbs, cactus and flowering plants. Botanical gardens are mostly run by a management of universities and scientific research organizations to investigate the varieties of different plants with their unique characteristics to undergo their research experiment or project that involve with the plant taxonomy.Â
In other words, botanical garden is one of the ex-situ conservation because it involved the components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. Ex-situ conservation is the process of protecting an endangered species of plant or animal by removing part of the population from a threatened habitat and placing it in a new location, which may be a wild area or within the care of humans. Therefore, it is undoubtedly that botanical gardens have the function to preserve the endangered plant species and to sustain our environment.
The main purpose that setting up the botanical gardens is to increase publics’ knowledge and appreciation of plant based on the significance and conservation of plants through locally and globally and also for the ongoing benefit and enjoyment of the community. Botanical gardens also can provide visitors with an exceptional range of cultural, recreational, educational and scientific facilities which improve people’s enjoyment and understanding of the plant world. Therefore, botanical gardens is used to demonstrate their relevance characteristics and values to our society.
Nowadays, botanical gardens not only as the recreational and cultural purposes, but also possess a mix of all purposes behind their incorporation ranging from economic to research as a response to the interests of horticulture and botany. As the research purposes, botanical gardens can provide the real teaching materials: plants which cannot find their whole plant body in the laboratory. This is the good exposure to students to the morphology and characteristics of the different species of plants. Botanical gardens also can display the plant diversity in form and use in a particular regions. For example, which plants grown within their particular families and which plants grown for their rarity or seed. Botanical gardens also consist of timber trees that are crucial for the research and development of the uses.
Other than that, botanical gardens can play the vital role to the climatic change due to their biological functions. Due to this, some related organizations can carry up some education programs because botanical gardens can strive the change of human behavior whereas their horticultural and botanical expertise will be essential in helping ecosystems to adapt to changing conditions. Botanical gardens not only treasured for their aesthetic beauty, but can help to preserve the health and well-being of planets because plants can helps to release oxygen into the atmosphere and provide the sources of food and medicines. However, the benefits for society which accrue from their economic potential may act as an incentive to over-exploit plant resources, a situation which could threaten our health, food security, economy and environment.
As a example, the biggest botanical garden in Malaysia has covered an area over 92 hectares. The park is divided into three sections which are ornamental plants, flowering plants and preservation or research purposes. The garden currently has more than 700 species of flowering plants, local plants as well as plants from the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions. This botanical garden has also set up a research center with its multi-purpose collection to promote and investigate the plant conservation and sustainable use of biological plant diversity. This research center also helps to advocate the world of plants for human benefits as well as fir its own intrinsic worth.
As a summary, botanical garden is a place or garden for the culture of plants collected for the scientific and educational purposes. It contains a wide variety of plants including a herbarium, the greenhouses and the research laboratory. Botanical gardens also perform the diversified functions such as the experimentation in plant breeding and hybridization and also the collection and cultivation of plants from all parts of the world. Besides, botanical gardens also essential to helps our biodiversity to achieve the sustainable development.
Roles and relationships of botanical gardens in plant conservation
Most of people do not aware with the roles of botanical gardens that can bring to the plant conservation. Normally, they just think that a botanical gardens often has the high recreational value, but neglected the research purposes within it. Conventionally, botanical gardens have worked in a broad range of concerns which including the reforestation, plant exploration, the establishment of nature preserves, agricultural research, publishing, and original research in botany. However, the plant conservation and education are the main concern of the function of botanical gardens in today society. Botanical gardens should play the important role in the exploration and search for promising plants, in the recognition and conservation of species in danger of extinction, and in the establishment of reserves and protected areas.
Botanical gardens can provide many benefits to sustain our environment and have the closely relationships with the plant conservation. There are several steps for research center of botanical gardens to implement the plant conservation. Firstly, botanical gardens can provide the new plants of economic importance to society, including ornamentals, medicinal, trees for reforestation, plants for industry, fruits, and cash crops. Next, some plants are collected for the study of adaptability, growth, and also the economic and genetic characteristics. After that, the workers of botanical gardens will disseminate the cultural and scientific information about plants to the general public in order to increase the awareness and consciousness of public towards the plant conservation. Finally, researchers in botanical gardens will collect and maintain the endangered and rare plants in the ecosystem and investigate the methods of plant conservation in a natural habitats.
How to say botanical gardens are closely related the plant conservation to sustain our biodiversity and ecosystem? Actually, botanical gardens can help to maintain the genetic diversity of plants that cannot easily be preserved as frozen seeds, or in tissue culture. Seeds of many tropical fruit and timber trees do not remain viable long, or survive freezing. Tissue culture techniques do not work, or haven’t been developed yet for some plants. Due to this point, botanical gardens are crucial for the conservation of recalcitrant plants which must be preserved as living specimens. Other than that, botanical gardens can contribute to the future of agricultural productivity through the plant conservation and the distribution of the many promising but underutilized food, medicinal, industrial crops, and wild relatives of crops, which are used in plant breeding to impart resistance to drought, pest and diseases and to adapt crops to other adverse environmental conditions.
How do botanical gardens support the plant conservation? What are the roles that played by botanical gardens in plant conservation? In fact, botanical gardens support plant conservation in a variety methods. Botanical gardens play the important roles in plant conservation as they possess collectively accumulated centuries of resources and expertise. Many of these activities are contribute to ex-situ conservation, but botanical gardens also play the important role in in-situ conservation such as involving the education and research and development in plant conservation. Botanical gardens maintain the living collections of plants ex-situ, often displaying plant species under various groupings, to maintain a living store of genetic diversity that can support many activities in plant conservation and research and development activities.
The first role of botanical gardens in plant conservation is the horticulture and cultivation functions towards the plants. This is because botanical gardens allows the better growth of the endangered plant species with the presence of these functions. With the better growth of plant, our environment also can become better because plants helps to absorb the carbon dioxide when undergo photosynthesis process. This role of botanical gardens can also maintain the plant conservation of genetic diversity ex-situ but in the other way, they also allows plants to be used in restoration and rehabilitation of degraded habitats in-situ. Therefore, we can say that the powerful resources for plant conservation are the botanical gardens research expertise in plant science and horticulture.
Next, botanical gardens may implement the research and development (R&D) into plant taxonomy and genetics, useful plant properties, efficient seed banking methods, phytochemistry, plant translocation and many more botanical areas that support plant utilization and plant conservation. Due to the increasing of human activity and the climatic change that causing the imbalance of ecosystem and biodiversity, research and development group of botanical gardens is important to carry out the projects that useful for the plant conservation. For example, R&D team can implement the experiments to investigate how plants can withstand the degraded and changing environments. After that, apply the best solution for the plant conservation to improve the sustainable development to our society.
In addition, botanical gardens possess the capability to store the seeds or germplasm of plants for future use, research and propagation. This role of botanical gardens is known as the seed banking which is another ex-situ plant conservation that helps to maintain the species of plant and reduce the chance of facing extinction. Seeds must be carefully collected and stored to ensure maximum genetic diversity is retained. To determine the best way of storing the different seeds, much more research and development activities and projects need to be carried out. Hence, we can state that botanical gardens are useful to promote plant conservation and recovery of endangered species of plant.
Moreover, the development of education is important for botanical gardens to promote and implement the activities to plant conservation. This is because education is the historic strength of botanical gardens which allowing them to communicate the importance and significance of conserving plants to a more diverse audience. Through the educational resources, the plant conservation and biodiversity education efforts can be improved because these educational resources can help to educate publics about the importance of plant conservation by demonstrating the ways it might be achieved.
Furthermore, botanical gardens can be the linkage to connect the plants with the well-being of human being. This role of botanical gardens directly aid to conserve the indigenous and local knowledge towards the plant conservation. Other than that, this linkage also encourages the sustainable use of plant resources for the benefit of all, as part of sustainable development. Additionally, botanical gardens also serves as the link between botanical research and public awareness of the significance and importance of plant conservation. There are over 100 million people a year visit the botanical gardens throughout the world. This is because botanical gardens provide a convenient visual image of the beauty and value of plants. Botanical gardens and other areas which native plants are preserved and managed their natural setting which are commonly known as ex-situ conservation areas. Therefore, the awareness among publics towards the plant conservation can also be increased with the exposure of botanical gardens to them.
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