The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) explores and implements innovative, science-based approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity – because biological diversity is the key to a lasting future for our planet. Created in 2001, CCSD is now a leader in national and international efforts to conserve and promote biodiversity worldwide. CCSD is equally committed to testing ideas about biodiversity and conservation that shape tenets of conservation practice and to undertaking tangible conservation actions that halt the loss of biodiversity and the extinction of those species at risk.

CCSD works in areas identified as strategic for the Missouri Botanical Garden, collaborating with institutions to advance biodiversity and conservation research, implement conservation action, and expand scientific resources, creating programs suited to the needs of particular peoples, regions, and countries.

Biodiversity and conservation research at CCSD addressed biological issues central to the practice of conserving biodiversity, including questions about spatial patterns of diversity, biotic responses to global change, genetics and population dynamics of rare species, and the restoration of species and ecosystems. It does so by integrating multiple disciplines such as ecology, evolution, systematics, genetics, biogeography, global change, and restoration. Much of this research focuses on understanding evolutionary and ecological causes and consequences of species distributions and rarity, and aims to achieve successful conservation outcomes by delivering sound science to land managers and practitioners.

Conservation action integrates protecting and managing plants in their  natural habitats with ex situ conservation to provide a safety net against extinction in the wild. CCSD develops strategies to conserve plant and animal populations in working landscapes, banks seeds, carries out species reintroductions, assists with managing and restoring degraded ecosystems, and assesses the vulnerability of plant species to global change.

Capacity building stands at the core of CCSD’s mission and the Center is committed to train and exchange knowledge with people in areas where conservation need is urgent and the Missouri Botanical Garden has both expertise and a depth of experience. CCSD is strengthening the Missouri Botanical Garden’s graduate training program with a greater focus on conservation and related disciplines. Through mentored fellowship and internship programs, university students and young professionals are able to develop knowledge and skills needed to conserve imperiled species and ecosystems. Internationally, CCSD is bolstering both capacity- and institution-building to support and educate young scientists and conservationists, government representatives, and indigenous and rural peoples, to enable them to design and implement sound conservation and sustainable development practices.

CCSD Mission

The mission of the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development is to safeguard Earth’s biodiversity through the collaborative development and wise application of scientific expertise and resources.


1.             To advance biodiversity and conservation research

2.            To apply the outcome of research in biodiversity and conservation science

3.            To build the capacity of the next generation of conservation scientists and practitioners

4.            To continue development of community programs

5.            To strengthen, and continue to build, partnerships with public and private sector organizations and agencies