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Missouri Botanical Garden Hosts Meeting of Ecological Restoration Alliance
(ST. LOUIS): Conservation experts from the world’s leading botanical gardens met in St. Louis this week and called for a renewed effort to link ecological restoration with the elimination of poverty in natural resource-dependent communities. In Madagascar, for example, the Missouri Botanical Garden provides training and jobs to local people who in turn assist with ecological restoration in diversity-rich areas. All too often, there are no viable economic alternatives to the degradation of biodiverse ecosystems. Member gardens are committed to offering alternatives that restore damaged land while providing income for those living in these areas.
Botanical Gardens are uniquely qualified to conduct ecological restoration given their expertise in horticulture and their capacity to document the source and genetics of plants. A garden’s reference plant collection provides documentation of a species even in areas with no remaining vegetation so that ecosystems can be restored in a historically accurate manner. Accurate species composition is necessary to revitalize normal function and regenerate ecosystem services such as watershed protection and nutrient cycling.
The Ecological Restoration Alliance consists of 18 member gardens from 10 countries. It was formed in response to the United Nation’s Global Strategy for Plant Conservation goal of restoring 15 percent of the world’s damaged ecosystems by 2020. The Alliance is currently working to restore more than 100 degraded, damaged or destroyed ecosystems by 2020 including tropical rainforests, temperate woodlands, grasslands, beaches, wetlands and more through partnerships with academic groups, industry and government. Among those 100 projects are two managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden: Restoring diversity in the St. Louis Region and Preserving and Restoring a Rich and Diverse Flora in Madagascar.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the three largest plant science programs in the world. The Garden focuses its work on areas that are rich in biodiversity yet threatened by habitat destruction, and operates the world’s most active research and training programs in tropical botany. Garden scientists collaborate with local institutions, schools and indigenous peoples to understand plants, create awareness, offer alternatives and craft conservation strategies. The Missouri Botanical Garden is striving for a world that can sustain us without sacrificing prosperity for future generations, a world where people share a commitment to managing biological diversity for the common benefit. Learn more at www.mobot.org.
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NOTE: Digital images available by request or via Flickr. Download media materials at www.mobot.org/media.
The Missouri Botanical Garden’s mission is “to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life.” Today, 155 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural display.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in St. Louis, just south of I-44 at Vandeventer-Kingshighway (exit #287B). Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas Day. Grounds open at 7 a.m. most Wednesdays and Saturdays (exception: special admission rate events). Admission is $8; free children ages 12 and under and Garden members. St. Louis City and County residents are $4 and free most Wednesdays and Saturdays until noon. Park for free on site and two blocks west at the Shaw-Vandeventer intersection. The Garden is accessible via public transportation by taking the MetroLink commuter rail line and picking up a Metro bus (www.metrostlouis.org). For general information, log on to www.mobot.org or call the 24-hour recording at (314) 577-5100 or 1-800-642-8842. For membership information, visit www.mobot.org/membership call (314) 577-5118 during weekday business hours. For volunteer opportunities, visit www.mobot.org/volunteer or call (314) 577-5187. The Missouri Botanical Garden is a tobacco-free environment.