Botanic Gardens and Sustainability: Providing a Pathway Forward for Humanity and the Planet

A special issue of Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens (ISSN 2673-5636).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 3269

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Interests: human benefits of nature; botanic gardens; public gardens

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Guest Editor
Cornell Botanic Gardens, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Interests: public gardens; plants and culture; plant conservation; climate change; biocultural diversity and conservation; international conservation strategies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

If the 20th Century is seen in retrospect as a century of profligate use of natural and other resources, then the 21st Century is being defined as a time of increasing awareness of their diminishing supply. Whether it is energy, water, food, plant and animal species, or biocultural diversity, global struggles at preservation are underway just as countervailing forces are causing their further diminishment and challenges to their sustainability.

This Special Issue will address various approaches botanic gardens across the globe are taking to mitigate these crises and provide for a more livable planet. Often, these progressive programs are conducted in collaboration with other agencies or organizations, and many of them have multiple sustainability targets. Each paper will be structured around the challenges of sustaining a particular resource, and proven approaches to addressing those challenges. The issue seeks to inspire readers toward a vision of a more equitable and sustainable future, based on the key roles botanic gardens can play.

Dr. Donald Rakow
Dr. Christopher P. Dunn
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • botanic gardens
  • biodiversity
  • alternative energy
  • water resources
  • biocultural diversity
  • food sovereignty

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 6322 KiB  
Article
Co-Producing an Ethnobotanical Garden to Support the Conservation of Indigenous Crop Diversity
by Pei-Hsin Hsu, Chih-Liang Chao and Gene-Sheng Tung
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2024, 5(2), 211-225; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg5020015 - 20 May 2024
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Abstract
Botanical gardens play a crucial role in documenting and sustaining traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) that were integral to the lives of Indigenous peoples. TEK has gained significant attention in discussions on sustainable development. Faced with threats to the maintenance and transfer of this [...] Read more.
Botanical gardens play a crucial role in documenting and sustaining traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) that were integral to the lives of Indigenous peoples. TEK has gained significant attention in discussions on sustainable development. Faced with threats to the maintenance and transfer of this knowledge, alternative approaches like community-based ethnobotanical gardens are emerging as effective tools for conservation. This paper details a research partnership that focused on storing and sharing the Bunun ethnic community’s TEK to conserve and promote plant and crop diversity. This collaboration further led to the co-development of an Indigenous ecological calendar detailing knowledge about crops, specifically beans. The ecological calendar emerged as an effective tool for supporting knowledge sharing, facilitating the communication of crop knowledge along with both common and scientific names. The Indigenous ecological calendar has also become a valuable tourism resource for guided tours, helping to build recognition of Indigenous knowledge, and making it accessible to future generations. Full article
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14 pages, 823 KiB  
Article
BiodiverseCity St. Louis—An Initiative of the Missouri Botanical Garden
by Jean Ponzi, Glenda Abney, Matthew A. Albrecht, Sean Doherty, Robbie Hart, Allison Joyce, Nisa Karimi, Daria Mckelvey, Mike Saxton and Jen Sieradzki
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2024, 5(2), 143-156; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg5020010 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 652
Abstract
Botanical gardens are addressing urgent biodiversity issues through plant-based capacities including botanical research and data-sharing, conservation horticulture, ecological restoration, seed banking, and more. The Missouri Botanical Garden initiative BiodiverseCity St. Louis, led by the Garden’s sustainability division, adds broad community engagement to this [...] Read more.
Botanical gardens are addressing urgent biodiversity issues through plant-based capacities including botanical research and data-sharing, conservation horticulture, ecological restoration, seed banking, and more. The Missouri Botanical Garden initiative BiodiverseCity St. Louis, led by the Garden’s sustainability division, adds broad community engagement to this mix. This work includes public and professional education, the demonstration and promotion of ecological landscaping and Green Infrastructure practices, citizen science programs, and coordinating communications for a regional network of partner organizations focused on biodiversity. Diverse activity engages businesses, local governments, elementary and secondary (K-12) schools, colleges, and community groups. Community biodiversity work at the Garden is informed by an institutional core of scientific rigor, provides opportunity for internal collaborations, and aligns with global strategies for plant conservation—to ground impactful local work. Missouri Botanical Garden’s experience offers a model for public gardens: leveraging modes of community engagement, in concert with diverse institutional strengths, to address biodiversity needs. Full article
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Review

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12 pages, 2682 KiB  
Review
Conservation of Water Resources in a Botanic Garden
by Chad E. Washburn
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2024, 5(2), 131-142; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg5020009 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 547
Abstract
Water-resource challenges, encompassing both quality and quantity, pose significant threats to Florida’s ecosystems, especially in the face of climate change, rising sea levels, and rapid urbanization. This paper explores the innovative stormwater-management system implemented at Naples Botanical Garden as a model for addressing [...] Read more.
Water-resource challenges, encompassing both quality and quantity, pose significant threats to Florida’s ecosystems, especially in the face of climate change, rising sea levels, and rapid urbanization. This paper explores the innovative stormwater-management system implemented at Naples Botanical Garden as a model for addressing these challenges. The Garden’s approach, treating stormwater as a valuable resource, involves dry and wet retention areas, created lakes, and a unique River of Grass, mimicking natural ecosystems. This system not only mitigates flooding, but also effectively removes pollutants, recharges the aquifer, and provides a habitat for diverse wildlife. The paper emphasizes the economic, environmental, and social impacts of traditional stormwater-management practices in Florida. Naples Botanical Garden’s case serves as a guide for botanical gardens and zoos globally, showcasing the pivotal role these institutions can play in sustainable water-resource management. The collaborative design process involving landscape architects, engineers, and horticulturists ensures a holistic and aesthetically pleasing approach to stormwater management. The paper underscores the role of botanical gardens in promoting nature-based solutions, educating the public, and offering tangible steps for implementing similar systems worldwide. It can help guide regional adaptation strategies to manage stormwater as a resource. Full article
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Other

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8 pages, 202 KiB  
Opinion
Sustainable Energy Use in Buildings: A Leadership Opportunity for Gardens and Zoos
by Richard V. Piacentini
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2024, 5(2), 179-186; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg5020012 - 13 Apr 2024
Viewed by 613
Abstract
Cultural institutions hold a unique position of influence, serving as hubs of education and knowledge dissemination for the people they serve. Embracing sustainable energy use in buildings in zoos and botanical gardens is a commitment to environmental responsibility that reinforces these institutions as [...] Read more.
Cultural institutions hold a unique position of influence, serving as hubs of education and knowledge dissemination for the people they serve. Embracing sustainable energy use in buildings in zoos and botanical gardens is a commitment to environmental responsibility that reinforces these institutions as trusted sources of information and community leaders on climate change, one of the most vital issues of our time. Sustainable energy solutions can synergize operations with educational missions, allowing zoos and botanical gardens to lead by example and inspire visitors to adopt eco-friendly practices in their own lives. In this opinion paper, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens President and CEO Richard Piacentini discusses key elements in developing a sustainable building energy plan, reviews potential barriers to implementation, and makes a case for adopting regenerative thinking and new metrics for measuring success—citing example cases from Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) project. Additionally, the paper demonstrates how green building certification systems and peer-based resource networks like The Climate Toolkit can help guide institutions in the process. Full article
12 pages, 1614 KiB  
Case Report
The Arnold Arboretum’s Campaign for the Living Collections: A Case Study in Living Collection Development
by Michael S. Dosmann and Miles Schwartz Sax
J. Zool. Bot. Gard. 2024, 5(2), 119-130; https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg5020008 - 28 Mar 2024
Viewed by 769
Abstract
In 2015, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University began an ambitious plant acquisition program: The Campaign for the Living Collections. Prior to the initiative’s launch, the Arboretum underwent several years of strategic planning to assess the values, strengths, and gaps within its renowned [...] Read more.
In 2015, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University began an ambitious plant acquisition program: The Campaign for the Living Collections. Prior to the initiative’s launch, the Arboretum underwent several years of strategic planning to assess the values, strengths, and gaps within its renowned living collection of temperate woody plants and then set goals that would profoundly shape the collection and its research and conservation potential for decades if not for centuries. Core genera, conservation value, phylogenetic breadth, biogeography, and climate change responses were among the priority themes used to generate a targeted list of 395 desiderata to acquire from wild populations. In only a few years, the Campaign’s 26 formal expeditions and other acquisition efforts have yielded 631 accessions of 263 highest-priority desiderata, representing 66.6% of the overall goal. This venture represents one of the most transformative and deliberate collection development activities at the Arnold Arboretum and among botanical gardens in the current era. These successes are due to a combination of factors that include visionary yet realistic strategic planning and goal setting, adherence to high standards of documentation and reporting, and authentic relationship building among collaborators. Full article
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