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Conservation utility of botanic garden living collections: Setting a strategy and appropriate methodology

In the realities of the modern world, when the natural habitat is rapidly disappearing and the number of imperiled plants is constantly growing, ex situ conservation is gaining importance. To meet this challenge, botanic gardens need to revise both their strategic goals and their methodologies to achieve the new goals. This paper proposes a strategy for the management of threatened plants in living collections, which includes setting regional conservation priorities for the species, creation of genetically representative collections for the high priority species, and usage of these collections in in situ actions. In this strategy, the value of existing and future species living collections for conservation is determined by the species' conservation status and how well the accessions represent their natural genetic variation.