Insufficient progress reported towards plant conservation targets

Tuesday, 17 June, 2014


A mid-term review of progress towards the targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) 2011-2020 is being carried out by the Convention on Biological Diversity during 2014. In preparation for this review, a technical background document has been compiled by BGCI, in association with the CBD Secretariat.  This report provides information on progress in GSPC implementation at the national and global levels based on information provided mainly by members of the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation, but also incorporating information from 5th National CBD reports, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and other sources where this is available.

Based on this background document, a summary report has been prepared for consideration at the upcoming meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA).  

According to this report, only one GSPC target is currently considered to be on track to be achieved by 2020 (Target 1) and efforts towards this target need to be maintained to ensure its achievement in this timeframe. For all other targets, while successful local or national examples exist for each target, significant additional efforts are urgently needed to be put in place if the targets are to be achieved globally.

As part of the mid-term review, BGCI has carried out an assessment of progress towards GSPC Target 8, which calls for 75% of threatened plant species to be in ex situ collections by 2020.  BGCI’s Plantsearch database provides data on the living and seed bank collections of botanic gardens around the world. Through its links with the IUCN Red List, PlantSearch provides a tool to measure the number of threatened plants in such collections and therefore monitor progress towards Target 8.  

PlantSearch presently includes over 1.2 million records, relating to more than 387,500 taxa provided by over 1,000 botanic gardens (up from 934,500 records on 269,000 taxa provided by 869 institutions in 2010).
Comparing the PlantSearch records with IUCN Red Lists (2013 and 1997 lists) has allowed us to identify 10,100 (29%) of known globally threatened plant species in botanic garden collections.  Similar assessments at the regional level have identified 39% of threatened species in the USA and 56% in Australia/New Zealand in ex situ collections.  

There is clearly a long way to go to achieve Target 8 - but we believe it can be achieved if the botanic garden community works together in a sustained and concentrated way, sharing data and resources and engaging with other stakeholders in a combined effort around a common goal.

Read the GSPC mid-term review summary report for SBSTTA here:

Download the full technical background document here:

Explore BGCI’s PlantSearch database here:

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Explore BGCI's PlantSearch database and find out which species are present in botanic garden collections around the world.