About CCSD
Guiding Principles

The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) explores and implements new, science-based approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity. CCSD’s strategies for conservation are based on a sound, scientific understanding of the occurrence, distribution, and ecology of plants.


CCSD is committed to the following principles:

  • Pursuit both of research in biodiversity and conservation and of conservation action
  • A focus on geographical areas where conservation need is urgent and the Missouri Botanical Garden has both expertise and a depth of  experience 
  • A commitment to continually strengthen training and exchange of knowledge with people in these priority geographical areas so that they have the tools to contribute toward building a sustainable future 
  • An emphasis on collaborative and participatory conservation



  1. Advance biodiversity and conservation research to provide a sound basis for    formulating conservation strategies and practical solutions and for advocating for these strategies
  2. Continue to apply the outcomes of research in biodiversity science and conservation biology to conserve rare and endangered plant species and their habitats and to engage St. Louis area residents with plant conservation 
  3. Further develop community programs aimed at conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and improved well-being of community residents
  4. Expand capacity building programs aimed at developing abilities to implement conservation
  5. Strengthen, and continue to build, partnerships with public and private sector organizations and agencies to foster conservation, and continue to participate in and promote the international conservation endeavor


The work of CCSD is made possible through the very generous
support of the Bellwether Foundation, private donors, and other funding organizations.


Olga Martha Montiel

Allison Miller, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Matthew Albrecht, Ph.D.
Conservation Ecologist
Hans Rajaonera
Communications and Education Officer,
Madagascar Program

James Aronson, Ph.D.
Restoration Ecologist

Leighton Reid, Ph.D.
Restoration Ecologist
Burgund Bassüner, Ph.D.
Science Specialist

Adam Smith, Ph.D.
Global Change Ecologist
Indiana Coronado
Research Fellow

Sebastián Tello, Ph.D.
Assistant Scientist

Christine Edwards, Ph.D.
Conservation Geneticist
Bladimir Terán
Environmental Specialist,
Bolivia Program

Alan Graham, Ph.D.

Dawn Trog
Senior Administrative Assistant

Iván Jiménez, Ph.D.
Associate Scientist

Rodolfo Vásquez
Manager, Peru Program

Quinn Long, Ph.D.
Conservation Ecologist 

Amy Zanne, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Gail Milder, Ph.D.
Program Developer
Joel Swift

International exchange to explore plant species responses to climate change

CCSD scientists Iván Jiménez and Adam Smith are collaborating with Tiina Sarkinen and James Richardson of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in a project entitled Species-level biome response to climate change in Andean South America under a grant awarded by the Royal Society of London, the national Academy of science in the UK. The grant, part of the Society’s effort to stimulate new collaborations between UK scientists and leading scientists overseas, supports a travel exchange that aims to build a collaborative research program in biome ecology and evolution between RBGE and MBG. The RBGE and MBG teams will bring complementary expertise in plant phylogenetics, biome evolution (RBGE), floristics, and spatial modeling (MBG) to the program.

The collaborating scientists will use specimen data from the herbaria at MBG and RBGE to estimate species’ current environmental and spatial distributions and to model their responses to potential future climatic conditions. In doing so, they will consider whether species with different functional traits (e.g., leaf length, leaf area, wood density) and life history traits (e.g., annual, perennial) will respond to climate change differently or in a similar manner. Using DNA sequencing, the project will also measure the ways in which plants have responded to climate change that occurred in the past, model the evolution of their ecological traits, and then determine whether they have the capacity to adapt to environments likely to occur in the future.

Joint expedition with Russian botanists aimed at conservation of rare and endangered species

CCSD scientist Dr. Quinn Long recently joined two members of MBG’s horticultural staff and a biologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a botanical expedition to the southern Ural Mountains hosted by Russian botanical gardens in the region. The expedition, which took place from June 10 – 24, 2014, was funded and coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the U.S.-Russia Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection. The U.S. delegation accompanied four Russian botanists on botanical surveys of diverse plant communities in the regions of Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, and Bashkortostan. The steppe and montane floras of these regions share many characteristics with the floras of the North American Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. During the visit, Dr. Long gave a presentation at the Ekaterinburg Botanic Garden on plant communities of the mid-continental United States and the efforts of CCSD to conserve imperiled plants within this region.

New Books from Peru and Bolivia

CCSD scientists and Peruvian collaborators have published an illustrated, bilingual manual of the 332 tree species known thus far from the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Árboles de MachuPicchu, Cusco – Perú). The introduction discusses the history, geography, climate, soils, topography and hydrography, and life zones of the Sanctuary as well as the species protected, threats to the area, and conservation goals. The remainder of the volume provides accounts of each species of tree, with color illustrations of foliage and flowers and/or fruits to aid in identification. Dr. Christopher Davidson and Ms. Sharon Christoph supported this work, with additional support from the Red Amázonica de Inventarios Forestales (RAINFOR).

MBG Curator and CCSD staff member Steven Churchill and his collaborator Eliana Calzadilla of the Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, recently published an illustrated glossary of Neotropical mosses (Glosario ilustrado para musgos neotropicales), an important contribution to understanding and conserving the plants of the New World. The National Science Foundation supported preparation and publication of the volume.