Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 22113.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022113

• Forum • Previous Articles    

The view on functional changes of botanical gardens and the establishment of China’s national botanical garden system

Hai Ren1,*(), Xiangying Wen1, Jingping Liao1, Xiangci Zheng1, Ming Yang2, Ju Zhou2   

  1. 1 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    2 Division of Biotechnology, Bureau of Science and Technology for Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100864
  • Received:2022-03-17 Accepted:2022-04-02 Online:2022-04-20 Published:2022-04-06
  • Contact: Hai Ren


Background & Aims: Plant resources are the basic component of natural ecosystems and are crucial for sustainable economic and social development. They are also core resources related to national ecological security and biosafety. The conservation of plant diversity mainly includes in situconservation and ex situ conservation. The establishment of a natural reserve system with national parks as the main body is the main form of in situ conservation. The development of a botanical garden system led by national botanical gardens is mainly for ex situ conservation. The two conservation strategies are indispensable and complementary. They jointly form a relatively complete plant biodiversity conservation system in China. The ex situconservation of China’s plant diversity through the establishment of a national botanical garden system can also facilitate scientific research, garden display, public education, as well as the utilization of plant resources. It is of great significance to further promote the construction of ecological civilization and high-quality economic development.

Progress: This paper reviews the functional changes of botanical gardens and the current situation of ex situconservation in botanical gardens around the world and China. The botanical garden originated from the cultivation, research and experimental of medicinal plants, and has gone through the development stages of medicinal botanical gardens or university medicinal botanical gardens, tropical (colonial economy) botanical gardens, European classic botanical gardens, municipal botanical gardens and special types of botanical gardens (including agricultural botanical gardens, horticultural botanical gardens, germplasm collection gardens, etc.). At present, ex situ conservation of plant diversity and public education are the main functions of botanical gardens. There are more than 3,700 botanical gardens in the world, growing about 1/3 of the world’s higher plants. China has 162 botanical gardens, with about 60% of the country’s higher plants conserved. There are over 100 national botanical gardens in 43 countries and regions around the world.

Conclusions & Suggestions: This paper discusses the relationship between botanical gardens and plant ex situ conservation. On this basis, we put forward the definition and setting standards of national botanical gardens, and then discusses the significance, challenges, coordinating ex situconservation and in situ conservation of the national botanical garden system. Finally, suggestions on the establishment goals, management system, spatial layout and certification of China's national botanical garden system are proposed. We hope this paper would provide new insights into future development of the national botanical garden system in China.

Key words: ex situ conservation, scientific research, public education, national botanical garden