Gardens - Conservation

A modern botanic garden has many functions. These include research into the distribution and relationships of plants, publishing guides to plants and public education. These are all important support roles for conservation - if a plant can't be named, it can't be saved.

Habitat loss

Plant life in South Asia is under threat, both from over-exploitation through logging, and grazing and industrial development. Forest accounts for 20% of India's surface and 5% of Pakistan and Bangladesh, and is perhaps the area under greatest threat. The mangrove forests of the coast are at particular risk from tourism projects.

Botanic gardens

In recent years, botanic gardens have taken a much more direct role in conservation. Gardens are both a haven for threatened plants and a source for their re-introduction to the wild.

The Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions is at the forefront of medicinal plant conservation in India. It works both on in-situ conservation, which aims to preserve the habitat of plants, and ex-situ conservation, where plants are conserved in botanic gardens or seed banks.

The Foundation runs a network of 19 Medicinal Plant Conservation Parks in southern India. These both preserve medicinal plants, and also distribute them to ther growers.