The Management of 'Ad Hoc' Ex Situ Conservation Status Species at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: A Review of Options

Elizabeth Radford, Michael Dossman, David Rae


Ad hoc' conservation status species refer to IUCN-listed plants that have been collected by botanic gardens for no immediate conservation objective. They differ from so-called conservation collections, which have usually been collected with very specific conservation objectives in mind. Information was collected for 53 ad hoc conservation status species in the Living Collection at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). Each species was assessed for its potential value for conservation and suggested action points to improve their management for possible conservation projects in the future were given. Discussions were held with various members of staff about the current and future management of threatened plants in the collections.

In common with other botanic gardens the majority of the ad hoc collections of conservation status plants at RBGE have been acquired in very small numbers, usually as one accession, frequently of cultivated origin and therefore possess little genetic diversity. Current conservation programmes for such plants are few in number and scope, and the management potential of a large number are limited. More emphasis should be placed on the educational role of these plants and on a focused programme to safeguard the survival of the most threatened species at RBGE.

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