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Botanic Gardens and Their Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 12925

Special Issue Editors

Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Kew, Richmond TW9 3BW, UK
Interests: botanic gardens; plant conservation; seed banking; sustainable development

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Guest Editor
Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Kew, Richmond TW9 3BW, UK
Interests: botanic gardens; plant conservation; sustainable development; education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In September 2018, BGCI’s (Botanic Gardens Conservation International) 10th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens, which was held in Warsaw, Poland, focused on increasing the impact of education and public engagement in botanic gardens. Attracting more than 750 million visitors a year, botanic gardens have the opportunity to interact with and influence a large section of society. In this context, environmental sustainability emerged as an area in which botanic gardens could have a significant impact. There was also the sense that botanic gardens are currently not doing enough about sustainability, particularly in influencing behavioral change amongst visitors and, in this way, achieving real societal impact. The delegates felt that it was appropriate that we show leadership as the world struggles to slow and reverse environmental degradation and mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. This is appropriate because environmental sustainability is consistent with our values, because our visitors are high consumers with societal influence, and because we have technical knowledge and skills that could be applied to solving problems and providing solutions for a more sustainable planet. In addition, of course, many of BGCI’s member gardens are showcasing best practice sustainability on their sites and are changing their practices and interactions with visitors relating to water saving, food, energy, carbon, recycling, and so on.

This Special Issue of Sustainability will focus on the work of botanic gardens in influencing visitor behavior in areas such as energy use, water consumption, food, responsible sourcing, waste, and recycling. In addition, more broadly, we will showcase contributions that botanic gardens make to the Sustainable Development Goals through research and practice related to the conservation and use of plants. Our main purpose is to share some of the best practices in the botanic garden sector (and outside it), then mainstream and scale up such approaches. This issue will complement the work already carried out by BGCI and its partners in gathering case studies from botanic gardens (see https://climatetoolkit.org/ and https://www.bgci.org/news-events/bgci-publishes-new-technical-review-on-environmental-sustainability/)

Dr. Paul Smith
Ms. Helen Miller
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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

  • botanic garden
  • SDGs
  • energy
  • water
  • food
  • waste
  • recycling

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 5057 KiB  
Article
Reducing Environmental Impacts at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
by Kate Hughes and Jenny Foulkes
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8793; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148793 - 18 Jul 2022
Viewed by 2298
Abstract
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has put the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis at the centre of its organisational strategy and is making changes to reduce the environmental impact of its activities and to adapt to the conditions created by changes in [...] Read more.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has put the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis at the centre of its organisational strategy and is making changes to reduce the environmental impact of its activities and to adapt to the conditions created by changes in climate. This article looks at actions towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the physical boundaries of the four gardens of RBGE in Scotland. The article considers two areas. Firstly, the Horticultural sphere, including the reduction of the impacts on the environment made by horticultural practice to maintain the gardens, and adaptation of the landscapes to improve visitor access and the biodiversity benefits of plantings. Secondly, influencing behaviour and engaging visitors with respect to growing food and the enjoyment of being with plants for health and wellbeing. In both these areas, RBGE activities are contributing to targets within SDGs 11, 12, 13 and 15. These targets, the actions to realise them and subsequent outcomes are described below. Finally, a major project underway at the Garden which will significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the institution, the Edinburgh Biomes, is introduced. Full article
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19 pages, 5484 KiB  
Article
Aligning to the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Assessing Contributions of UBC Botanical Garden
by Adriana Lopez-Villalobos, Dionne Bunsha, Delanie Austin, Laura Caddy, Jennifer Douglas, Andy Hill, Kevin Kubeck, Patrick Lewis, Ben Stormes, Ryo Sugiyama and Tara Moreau
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106275 - 21 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2467
Abstract
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines 17 goals for the wellbeing of people and the planet. The purpose of this study was to understand how University of British Columbia Botanical Garden (UBCBG) contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals [...] Read more.
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines 17 goals for the wellbeing of people and the planet. The purpose of this study was to understand how University of British Columbia Botanical Garden (UBCBG) contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) and to identify opportunities for future action. To address this, we worked across departments to assess our programs and activities against the UN-SDG 17 goals and 169 targets. The UN-SDG indicators were only used to identify potential metrics that could be consider for future tracking. The main activities of UBCBG include ex situ plant conservation, sustainability education and community engagement. Our results found that UBCBG contributes to 12 of the 17 goals and 24 of the 169 targets. The two UN-SDGs with more targets aligned to UBCBG’s activities were Goal 15—Life on Land and Goal 12—Responsible Consumption and Production. Through its partnerships with other botanical gardens, research institutions and the regional government, the Garden amplifies its work at a global, national and regional level. We are re-imagining the role of botanical gardens in an age of equity, decolonization, the biodiversity crisis and the climate emergency. Since the UN-SDGs address both nature and people, they are an appropriate framework to guide our work. Full article
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Review

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18 pages, 6314 KiB  
Review
Fortuitous Alignment: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Sustainable Development Goals
by Carly R. Cowell, Leigh-Anne Bullough, Sonia Dhanda, Vicki Harrison Neves, Ed Ikin, Jessica Moore, Rachel Purdon, China Williams, Julia Willison and Sharon J. Willoughby
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2366; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042366 - 18 Feb 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3905
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aimed at improving human well-being at a global scale, whilst enhancing and preserving global biodiversity. Recently, botanic gardens worldwide have become more conservation focused, and gardens are increasingly influential in scientific roles that address both biodiversity loss [...] Read more.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are aimed at improving human well-being at a global scale, whilst enhancing and preserving global biodiversity. Recently, botanic gardens worldwide have become more conservation focused, and gardens are increasingly influential in scientific roles that address both biodiversity loss and human well-being—particularly in urban areas. As the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew) launched its new Manifesto for Change in 2021, this paper outlines how the organisation currently contributes to the SDGs and examines where the work of botanic gardens can have the biggest impact. This paper focuses on the use of policy engagement, education and outreach, and scientific research to document Kew’s contribution to the goals so far, both in the UK and elsewhere. The SDGs address high level global objectives, many of which are not directly relatable to the activities of a single organisation. Kew’s approach to this challenge is to seek out the intention of the Goals by interrogating their subsidiary Targets. We then translate the intention of any given SDG into actions that are meaningful to our specific practice. Many of RBG Kew’s existing projects and programmes address the SDGs and we are aligning our aims with them more closely still. Full article
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Other

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16 pages, 3082 KiB  
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Applying United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Mt. Cuba Center Gardens with Native Plants and Grows Conservators
by Élan R. Alford, Sam Hoadley, Caroline R. Fazzini, Laura K. Reilly, Amy Highland, Ellen C. Lake and Jeffrey A. Downing
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106074 - 17 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1765
Abstract
Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden created with a conservation purpose: to work with native plants and inspire people to become conservators of native habitats. Adherence to this founding mission aligns Mt. Cuba’s activities with 4 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable [...] Read more.
Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden created with a conservation purpose: to work with native plants and inspire people to become conservators of native habitats. Adherence to this founding mission aligns Mt. Cuba’s activities with 4 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This article shares aspects of the center’s founding, interpretative plan and content, horticultural research, and conservation programs. We hope that it will inspire the development and implementation of more botanical garden conservation programs that catalyze members, guests, and community partners to participate in and amplify conservation efforts through collective actions. By highlighting the region and its beautiful native flora, Mt. Cuba teaches conservation of native habitats and how to incorporate native plants into home gardens. The garden’s conservation messages are brought to life through interpretive plans, horticultural research, and public engagement. The garden itself acts as a tool to promote conservation by influencing guest attitudes and experiences. The renewal of Mt. Cuba from a fallow cornfield to a thriving ecosystem illustrates that individuals can make a difference. By telling its story and demonstrating accessible conservation actions through its work with native plants, Mt. Cuba aims to transform garden guests into conservators. Full article
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