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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.