Plants are essential to life on earth. They provide food, clothing, shelter, clean air, water and healthy soil – all that life depends on.  There are well over 30,000 kinds of plants that provide essential life support to the people of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, many plant species are at-risk of extinction, and need to be protected and conserved.

Recognizing this, the North American Plant Conservation Initiative released the 2016-2020 North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Plant Conservation, an updated continent-wide plan to recover, conserve, and protect the plants of North America. This initiative unites the American Public Gardens Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International US (BGCI-US), The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), The Mexican Association of Botanic Gardens (AMJB), and the Plant Conservation Alliance Non-Federal Cooperators Committee (PCA-NFCC) as they bring the collective power and resources of over 1000 gardens and related organizations to bear on this one critical issue.

“Every garden is a conservation garden. This plan for plant conservation helps ensure that at-risk plant species and their natural communities will not only survive, but thrive.”  –Casey Sclar, Executive Director, American Public Gardens Association, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

The Strategy lays a clear path to how gardens can protect natural habitats, coordinate to conserve plants as part of their missions and daily activities, and educate and inform over 100 million people each year that visit gardens in North America. It is vitally linked to Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, established by the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure the future survival of humanity by addressing growing challenges in preserving plant diversity.

“We must provide a road map to save plants in North America while keeping our eye on global needs. The North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Plant Conservation does just that.”  –Abby Hird, Botanic Gardens Conservation International – US, Chicago, Illinois

North America is home to over 1,000 arboreta, botanic gardens, public gardens, natural areas, seed banks, and plant conservation organizations. However, this is the first time that all these organizations have united in their efforts. Assisted and recognized by several federal organizations such as the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA-FS), United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (USDOI-BLM), the Smithsonian Institution, and others – the strategy clearly outlines the ways any organization, big or small, can begin today to protect plants for future generations.

The North American Strategy brings together the right organizations and the right people to save plants.”  – John Clark, President and CEO, Center for Plant Conservation, San Diego, California

The strategy is available to all at Simple and easily readable by design, it encourages integration and collaboration and acknowledges the significant plant conservation role these gardens play in the world.

“When we lose a plant species, we lose all the benefits it provides.  Whether these are benefits for humanity, such as genes for crop improvement, medicines for what ails us, or benefits for pollinators, wildlife and other species, our world is impoverished with each and every loss.”  –Kay Havens, Chair, Plant Conservation Alliance, Chicago, Illinois

Everyone is encouraged to utilize this vital resource and find the inspiration to act. Together, we stand united in our efforts, large and small, protecting and conserving the plants of North America.


About the American Public Gardens Association
Founded in 1940, the American Public Gardens Association has evolved to be the premiere association for public garden advocacy, education, innovation, and leadership in North America. With more than 75 years of commitment to increasing cooperation and awareness among gardens, the Association has built a membership of nearly 600 institutions located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and 24 other countries. Its members include, but are not limited to, botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges and universities, display gardens, and research facilities. The Association is committed to increased awareness and advancement of public gardens as a force for positive change in communities through leadership, advocacy and innovation.  Visit for more information.