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Botanical Gardens' Role in Conserving Endangered Plant Species

Naples Botanical Garden
Magnolia rajaniana, known from less than 10 populations in the wild and nearly unknown in cultivation, is one of the rare species conserved in Naples Botanical Garden’s living plant collections. ";

When you think of an “endangered species” chances are you probably think of mammals, birds or marine life. But, nearly 20% of the world’s plant species are currently in danger of extinction.

The Trump Administration recently announced rule changes for how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. Species categorized as “threatened” will no longer receive the same protections as species in the “endangered” category; the government will now consider economic factors before declaring a species as endangered or threatened; and how risks to species in the "foreseeable future” are defined is being loosened, which conservationists say could overlook the effects of climate change on species survival.

So, we thought we’d sit down with Chad Washburn, Vice President for Conservation at Naples Botanical Garden, to explore what’s at stake if we lose plant diversity, and exactly what role botanical gardens play in ensuring species survival all over the world.

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.