The biodiversity of plants is amazing. They provide the basic requirements for human survival.
We are using food, fibre, fire wood that comes directly from plants.
Biodiversity is required for the sake of plants to be able to provide different ecosystems services for human well being. The decline of biodiversity results in the disturbance of the ecological network that supports the Earth systems and provides the ecosystem services.
Biodiversity is often identified with species richness as extinctions are the most evident signs of the loss, however, biodiversity includes other levels of organisation, e.g. habitat types.
The role of Botanical Gardens and their scientific collections of living plants are globally more and more appreciated. The primary reason is that habitats are being destroyed with an unprecedented rate by direct and indirect human activities. There are certain species that we can only find in Botanical Gardens as they went extinct in their natural habitat. This genetical information carried by the last heralds is irreplaceable.
The Botanical Gardens as gene reserves ensure the preservation and the potential re-introduction of several protected and endangered species.
They also provide shelter to potential food plants, which may thus survive the extreme conditions occurring as a result of climate change. Botanical Gardens are basic institutions of environmental education. The greenhouse collections aim to expand the knowledge of the visitors and highlight the importance of biological diversity.
Several international conventions have been created for the protection of nature and the environment, the most important being the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio Convention).
The Botanical Gardens have an active role to realise the tasks described in the Habitat Directive.
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) aims for 60% of endangered species to be part of ex-situ collections by 2010.