For centuries, botanic gardens have provided society with access to medicines and plant material for scientific research. They also provided an opportunity for people to learn about native and exotic species displayed in botanic gardens’ living collections. Today, botanic gardens continue to play an important role in the health and well being of visitors as well as supporting the conservation of native plants through applied research.
Botanic Gardens as scientific institutions are believed to have started in 1543 with the physic garden of the University of Pisa, Italy, created by Luca Ghini. Since then the number of botanic gardens has continued to grow, with more than 1,770 botanic gardens in 148 countries now in operation (BGCI, 2021). Australia is home to more than 140 botanic gardens with the oldest being the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, established in 1816.
Australia’s major, capital city botanic gardens operate as independent institutions within the national collaborative framework of the Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG). The member gardens and their associated seed banks work with partners and supporters to provide national coordination and collaboration for conservation and research. These efforts support the development of national and international guidelines for ex situ plant conservation and deliver effective and efficient ex situ conservation of Australia’s plant diversity.
CHABG is a not-for-profit organisation with links to botanic gardens and botanical experts regionally through Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ) and the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC) and internationally through Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)
To learn more about how CHABG operates see our page on CHABG Governance.