The Center for Plant Conservation is a consortium of some 40 botanical gardens, which for 31 years have worked together to save the plants of the U.S. from extinction. It has become a global model, building the National Collection of Endangered Plants, which now includes almost 800 of the nation’s imperiled plant species.
San Diego Zoo Global’s wildlife conservation efforts have long included both plants and animals. The botanical focus of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research is on sustainability and restoration of native ecosystems, seed science, habitat monitoring and management, plant-animal interactions, and recovery programs for rare and endangered species.
The Center for Plant Conservation will now be based in San Diego, with John Clark, Ph.D., serving a dual role as president of the Center for Plant Conservation and director of plant conservation for San Diego Zoo Global.
About 4,500 of the roughly 18,500 species of plants in the U.S. and Canada are considered to be of conservation concern, with almost 1,000 of them either listed under the federal Endangered Species Act or qualified for listing. Without human intervention, many of them will be gone within the next few decades. For many of these plants, their roles in forming the backbone of ecosystems or in providing useful products for medicine, chemicals or food have not yet been examined properly.