The Chicago Botanic Garden and Botanic Gardens Conservation International ‘s U.S. office have been working with partners across the country to assess current and future botanical capacity in the United States. The aim of this grant-funded project is to understand the resources we currently have to conserve and manage native plant species and habitat, identify gaps in capacity and highlight opportunities to fill them in the future. You may download the final report HERE. Below is an excerpt from the preface:
“Plants are central to the future of scientific discovery, human well-being, and the sustainable use and preservation of the nation’s resources. The botanical community in the United States plays a mission-critical role in researching, conserving, and sustainably managing our plant diversity and resources. Botanical expertise is required to address current and future grand challenges and issues, including climate change mitigation, land management and wildlife habitat restoration, understanding the provision of ecosystem services, management and control of invasive species, and the conservation and recovery of rare species. Despite the fundamental role botanical capacity
plays in tackling each of these issues, this report outlines where botanical capacity, particularly human capacity, is lacking across all sectors government, academic, and private). In the United States over the past two decades, the botanical community has experienced significant changes in
the demands placed upon it and the resources available to it. Since the early 1990s a series of published and anecdotal reports have outlined declining botanical capacity in many facets of this sector. This includes declines in human resources like botanical training and expertise, financial and management-level support for research, education and application, and the loss of infrastructure
such as herbaria. The nation’s science and land management agenda is suffering as a result.”
In light of New York’s decreased state funding for botany, this report is very timely. We need more botanists and botanical funding to protect our flora in New York.