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Chapter 7: Using the Plant Collection – Research, Conservation, Public Engagement, Recreation and Tourism

As multidisciplinary institutions at the interface between people and plants, botanic gardens are prime centres for botanical research and plant conservation. With plant diversity continuing to decline worldwide, ex situ conservation at botanic gardens presents a major insurance policy for the safeguard of rare and threatened species. Plant material held in ex situ collections can be used in efforts to reinforce dwindling and degraded plant populations in the wild, let alone to reintroduce species and populations where they have entirely disappeared. Botanic gardens are also becoming increasingly visible as influential stakeholders and versed actors in the area of restoration ecology and practice. What is more, in times of unprecedented global transformations, climate change and changing ecosystems, botanic gardens may hold plants and genetic diversity relevant for the development and management of emerging ecosystems with new species assemblages.