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Applying the Zoo Model to Conservation of Threatened Exceptional Plant Species

Maintaining a living plant collection is the most common method of ex situ conservation for plant
species that cannot be seed banked i.e. “exceptional” species. Viability of living collections, and their value for future conservation efforts, can be limited without coordinated efforts to track and
manage individuals across institutions. The zoological community has established an inter-institutional infrastructure to support long-term viability of captive animal populations using a
pedigree-focused approach. We assess the ability of this coordinated metacollection infrastructure
to support conservation of four plant species curated in living collections at multiple botanic gardens
around the world.