CITIES: THE FINAL FRONTIER FOR ENDANGERED PLANTS?

Stephen Blackmore

Abstract


Now that more than half of humanity lives in cities, urban greenspace and Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) have never been more important. Although the health benefits and ecosystem services provided by urban greenspace are now widely appreciated, the potential for cities to
provide refuges for native flora in general and threatened plants in particular, is not. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide an internationally agreed framework for tackling the world’s greatest challenges including the biodiversity crisis, climate change and the need to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This article explores the opportunity provided by these Global Goals for botanic garden horticulture to make cities havens for endangered plants and better places for people to live in. It identifies botanic gardens as the only organisations with the potential to overcome the barriers to conservation in the city.

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