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Addressing the threat to biodiversity from botanic gardens

Addressing the threat to biodiversity from botanic gardens

Increasing evidence highlights the role that botanic gardens might have in plant invasions across the globe. Botanic gardens, often in global biodiversity hotspots, have been implicated in the early cultivation and/or introduction of most environmental weeds listed by IUCN as among the worst invasive species worldwide. Furthermore, most of the popular ornamental species in living collections around the globe have records as alien weeds. Voluntary codes of conduct to prevent the dissemination of invasive plants from botanic gardens have had limited uptake, with few risk assessments undertaken of individual living collections. A stronger global networking of botanic gardens to tackle biological invasions involving public outreach, information sharing and capacity building is a priority to prevent the problems of the past occurring in the future.