Botanic Gardens and Climate Change (at APGA)


Sara Oldfield:

Monitor and assess, give info, reduce Co2 emissions.  Many around the world keep meteorlogical and phenological records. (Bangladesh, Kazakstan, Indonesia!)
Research done in Malta, Australia, Malaysia, Oslo, China.  1/3 worldwide do education on climate change.  Many are reducing emissions by using Marcolon instead of grass – HUH?  Buy or do (?) carbon offsets against air travel by employees.  Eden Project (what?)  Reduced admission fees for people arriving by public transit.
Plant Conservation Stragies, genetic reservoirs, reduce stresses on biodiversity like invasives, overharversting.  "Maintain systems as carbon sinks."  Huh?
Me – Look up – "Global STrategy for Plant Conservation"

2000 meeting in Gran Canaria started the global strat. Second meeting in 2006.Gran Canaria I is a declaration, BGs’ respoinse to global climate change.  Sara Oldfield, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conseration International talked to APGA.  WWF says as many as 1/2 the estimated 400,000 s;pecies in existence today may be under threat. Other experts say 100,000 are threatened with extinction.  Calls for mitigation adn adaptation stragies, adaptive conservation management.

Conventoin on Biodiversity – Paris next week. Look up SBSTTA.  "Remember hte plants, not just the polar bears."

Richard Primack of Arnold ARb at Harvard  Writes textbooks on conservbation biology.  Almost no research is being done on effects of climate change on N. Amr plants (most studies are done in Europe).  Arnold thought they had no data at all in 2001, but Primack found lots of old photos and 80,000 specimens.  Also he now monitors bloom times.  Cioties have warmed up most b/c of temp increases in cities that started 100 years ago (Boston is good example)  Of the 2 degrees C increase, 1.4 is due to urbanization – average annual temp change since 1850.   Says BGs with their collections and records can help document (prove) climate change, elucidate it.

Kayri Havens, Chicago BG – change from just a living plant collection research and conservation.  20 percnet of u.S. plants will be outside their climate range.  Lots of barriers to migration – natural ones, plus urbanization and agriculture.
Floral report card –  monitoring 5 species (clonal replicates) at BGs across US, done by volunteers.
Project Budburst – colect climate change data.  Mostly childrlen.  Can be used by schools.
Seed Banking Center for Plant Conservation.

Mike Maunder (ceo of Fairchild Trop[pical Garden in S. Fla.)  S. Florida is particulalry pertinent topic for global warming!!  They ask themsleves, ‘Do we really want to scare the donors?"
Climate change:  treat to BGs, threat to biodiversity, opportunity to demonstrate "relevance of BGs."  "We all need to thank Mr. Gore."  New board members can now talk about it (and people like Bloomburg, Schwartnewgger and Mayor Daily, listening to Gore, are helping).
Expect more storm damage and change in sea level.
Also erfects on: insurance, staff morality, recruiting, physical damage, loss of power, loss of business.
How to storm-proof their gardens?  Water supplies, generators, security, volunteers.  (tidying up couldn’t have happened so quickly without their volunteers). 
Investing more in tropical forest conservation.
What can BGs do?  Get LEEd cert, carbon audit, including staff travel, carbon "ranching" (HUH?), hort innovation is needed, championed and resaerched by BGs

In Q&A, topic of "good news about global warming" – lots of complaints about the popular press.  One Press rep noted the recent NYT article ("great benefits" of growing crape myrtle in Upsatte NY) is typical of "balanced journalism" they’re attempting to do. But it’s NOT simple warming; it’s global uncerrtainty.  We don’t know what we’ll be able to grow.  Also fire ants and kudzu now in the North.  Global climate change is NOT a steory that really merits good-news-bad-news balance; not best way to educate hte public.
Todd from NY BG said they’re trying to teach climate change mitigation – and adaptation.
Message:  save resources and save money, too.  Opportunity to make our gardens much better places (less noise, etc).  BGs should be political partner with local government entities to change practices. In S. Florida they’re change agents.  Presnet info to policymakers.  BGs should lead by example.

Morton Arb – loss of ecological adn genetic diversity wihtin species is happening, too.
Anti-science movement (esp in the South), with conservative boards they hvae to deal with.  Message should be: these are things you shoudl do ANYWAY (whether or not you belive in global warming.):  Conserve, don’t pollute, etc.

Recommoended:  Ed Wilson’s "The Creation", saying we have a common stake in protecting EArth.
Note many evangelicals now environmentally active, saying that global climate change will hurt the poor the most.  One rep says the 40 million Christian evangelicals have almost identical environmental views as ours"