Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)

BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world`s largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world`s threatened plants.

Company details

Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond , Surrey , England TW9 3BW United Kingdom

Locations Served

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Agriculture - Horticulture
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

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Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) was established in 1987 to link the botanic gardens of the world in a global network for plant conservation. BGCI is an independant UK charity with its head office located at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

BGCI’s membership and larger network has grown consistently over the years, and now includes more than 500 botanic gardens in 96 countries, on every continent. Our aim is to unite botanic gardens and other organisations committed to saving the world’s threatened plants.

BGCI supports the development and implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) at a global, regional, national, and local level. We work directly with our members and other plant conservation organisations, carrying out threat assessments, seed conservation, ecological restoration, plant health and education projects around the world.

In 2007, BGCI established an office at the South China Botanical Garden, Guangzhou and appointed a China Programme Coordinator. In the same year, BGCI moved its US office from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York to Chicago Botanic Garden and appointed a US Executive Director.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International is the only global consortium of botanic gardens devoted to conserving the world’s plant diversity. Our membership includes more than 500 botanic gardens whose collections include at least  a third of the world’s plant species. Together we are working to conserve all plant diversity for future generations. It is estimated that 80,000 species of plants are threatened in the wild. BGCI and its members are committed to preventing plant species extinctions by conserving plants both in the wild and ex situ in seed banks and botanic gardens.

BGCI supports the development and implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) at a global, regional, national, and local level. We work directly with our members and other plant conservation organisations, carrying out threat assessments, seed conservation, ecological restoration and plant health projects around the world.

Sitting at the centre of a network of plant conservation organisations, including the largest and most influential botanic gardens in our sector, BGCI is in a prime position to promote a more efficient, cost-effective and rational approach to plant conservation in botanic gardens. We do this in four ways, by:

  • Leading and advocacy: We provide leadership to the botanic gardens sector, promoting the role of botanic gardens to policymakers and funders in delivering the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
  • Leading innovative and strategic projects achieving outcomes in plant conservation policy, practice and education. BGCI leads projects and networks delivering Global Strategy for Plant Conservation targets in red listing (Target 2), seed conservation (Targets 8 & 9), ecological restoration (Targets 4 & 8), plant health and biosecurity (Target 10), ecosystem services and livelihoods (Targets 12 & 13) and education (Targets 14-16).
  • Building plant conservation capacity in botanic gardens and broader society: We build technical capacity in the botanic garden sector and beyond by acting as a knowledge hub and a clearing house for best practice, training, resources and expertise.
  • Providing funding: We mobilise funding to deliver plant conservation projects and outcomes in the botanic gardens sector and wider society.

Our vision is a world in which plant diversity is valued, secure and supporting all life. To create this world our mission is:
'To mobilise botanic gardens and engage partners in securing plant diversity for the well-being of people and the planet'.

BGCI was established in 1987 as a small secretariat under the auspices of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

BGCI’s membership and larger network has grown consistently over the years, and now includes more than 500 botanic gardens in 96 countries, on every continent. Our aim is to unite botanic gardens and other organisations committed to saving the world’s threatened plants.

In 2007, BGCI established an office at the South China Botanical Garden, Guangzhou and appointed a China Programme Coordinator. In the same year, BGCI moved its US office from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York to Chicago Botanic Garden and appointed a US Executive Director.

In 2016, BGCI opened an office in South East Asia in partnership with the Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Center in Taiwan and an office at the IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, to support expansion of our programme and facilitate collaboration between botanic gardens within and outside of Africa.

BGCI is now the leading international organisation working to save the world’s imperilled flora. Our work helps gardens connect with each other and these links can generate huge, positive change for individuals, gardens and local communities.

Highlights from 2017

2017 has been a very productive year for BGCI and for our community of botanic gardens.

The highlight of the year was BGCI’s 6th Global Botanic Gardens Congress, held in Geneva in June, hosted by the Conservatoire et Jardin Botanique de la Ville de Genève (CJBG). It was attended by >500 delegates from 70 countries. Over 200 presentations and posters were given at the Congress, which had the theme ‘Botanic gardens in society: visions for the future’. Further information about the congress, including videos of the plenary talks and abstracts of all presentations are available here.


2017 was a record year for BGCI-led vocational training. In total, BGCI trained 957 people from 310 institutions from 48 countries. New e-learning materials on seed conservation were also made available on the website in English, French, Spanish and Chinese.

2017 was also a big year for BGCI’s databases. ThreatSearch is recognised as the authoritative source of information on threatened plants towards achieving Targets 2, 7 and 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. In addition, Advanced PlantSearch was launched on the new Member’s area of the BGCI website in March, enabling users to see which gardens have which collections for the first time. GlobalTreeSearch, BGCI’s newest database, was launched in April via a paper published in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry.


The publication of GlobalTreeSearch forms the backbone of the Global Tree Assessment, and will enable BGCI to significantly scale up red listing efforts in 2018. Our technical plant conservation networks – the Global Seed Conservation Challenge, the Ecological Restoration Alliance and the International Plant Sentinel Network - continue to grow, and the Global Trees Campaign has supported the integrated (in situ and ex situ) conservation of 120 tree species in 17 countries, generating over 450,000 seedlings for reintroduction and reinforcement planting.

Good progress has also been made with BGCI’s two large public engagement projects, Learn to Engage and the Big Picnic. The latter project, focusing on engaging the public on food security, has been identified as an exemplar project by the funder, Horizon 2020.

Finally, BGCI disbursed funds totaling US$ 1,048,250 to botanic gardens and other botanical institutions in 2017.  As always, this figure is many times what we receive in subscriptions from our members, and is an indication that membership of BGCI is a good investment in our community of botanic gardens.