From Plant Press, Vol. 18, No. 1, January 2015.
By Gary A. Krupnick
The National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Department of Botany at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History presented a one-day symposium titled, “Agents of Change: Botanic Gardens in the 21st Century” on October 7, 2014, in Washington, DC. The symposium brought together the world's leading scientists, researchers, and garden leaders to share the most pressing issues, trends, and solutions at botanical gardens, to the challenges faced by the natural environment, the struggles to feed the hungry, and the losses of cultural diversity.
The symposium was structured around four over-arching topics: (1) Extinction or survival: conserving plants in a changing world; (2) Feast or famine: how we can and will feed 9 billion people; (3) Biocultural conservation: interpreting the richness of the human experience; and (4) Operational sustainability: are botanic gardens an endangered species? Each topic featured three to four guest speakers and was followed by an expert panel with five leaders in botany.