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National Strategy and Action Plan for the Role of Australia’s Botanic Gardens in Adapting to Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report concluded that human induced climate change is expected to have a discernable influence on many physical and biological systems. The resilience of many ecosystems is likely to be exceeded over the course of the twentyfirst century and approximately a quarter of all plant and animal species are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature continue to match current projections (IPCC 2007). Botanic gardens, in partnership with herbaria, will play an increasingly critical role in ex situ plant conservation as climate change impacts on natural populations of plant species. The key focus of botanic gardens in addressing climate change includes:

  • providing a safety net for plant species through living plant collections and seedbanks

  • providing knowledge and expertise to support climate change research through horticultural and field-based research

  • plant species distribution and plant taxonomy providing opportunities for increasing community awareness and education about climate change (CHABG 2008).