Center for Conservation & Sustainable Development

The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) explores and implements new, science-based approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity. The CCSD’s strategies for conservation are distinctive in that they are based on a sound, scientific understanding of the occurrence and distribution of plants. The CCSD applies the knowledge of plant diversity accumulated by Missouri Botanical Garden researchers over many years, making that knowledge usable for conservation planning and decision-making. Operating under the auspices of the Garden and as part of its division of Science and Conservation, the CCSD builds upon the Garden’s institutional expertise, scientific programs, influence, and resources.

The CCSD works with institutions around the world to advance basic research and expand scientific resources in developing countries, creating programs suited to the needs of particular peoples, areas, and countries. Work is concentrated in the geographical areas identified as priorities for the Garden—areas that are relatively unexplored and estimated to be rich in biodiversity yet are critically threatened with habitat loss, including the tropical Andes, Mesoamerica, Madagascar, and Vietnam.

Capacity building stands at the core of the CCSD’s mission. The developing countries have 80 percent of the world’s population, and about 80 percent of the world’s biological diversity, but no more than 10 percent of the world’s scientists and engineers—the great majority of them in Brazil, Mexico, India, and China. Excluding these four countries, about 40 percent of the people in the world—who are stewards for an estimated 40 percent of the world’s biological diversity—live in countries that lack an adequate scientific and technical base to manage their own biological resources, either for their own benefit or for the common good of humanity.

Governing Principles

CCSD advocates a coherent, science-based approach to plant conservation and sustainable development. It bridges the gap between science and conservation by providing a direct link to plant systematics and floristics—the primary inventory, description, and assimilation of information about plant diversity. These disciplines are fundamental to all efforts aimed at conserving and sustainably using plant diversity. In developing countries rich in biodiversity, CCSD empowers the local conservation and environmental communities by providing them with the training and information necessary to design and implement sound conservation and sustainable development practices.

Major Goals

  1. To analyze and interpret scientific data to provide a sound basis for formulating conservation strategies and to advocate for these strategies;
  2. To develop international programs aimed at building in-country ability to implement conservation, through a tiered training program in botany, conservation science, and sustainable development;
  3. To develop international programs aimed at conservation and sustainable management of natural resources with local communities in areas where the Garden has active research initiatives;
  4. To promote and strengthen internationalism by working with governments, the public sector, and national and international non-governmental organizations to advance conservation strategies; and
  5. To implement ex situ conservation of rare and endangered plant species of the Midwestern United States and to engage St. Louis area residents in monitoring and restoration projects.