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Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is a plant conservation charity based in Londonmarker, Englandmarker. It is a membership organisation, working with 800 botanic gardens in 118 countries, whose combined work forms the world's largest plant conservation network.

Founded in 1987, BGCI is a registered charity in the United Kingdommarker (charity registration No. 1098834), and includes the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kewmarker and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburghmarker, as two of its key supporters. From 1989 to 2005, BGCI was lead by Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson. In 2005 Sara Oldfield succeeded Dr. Wyse-Jackson as BGCI's Secretary-General.

BGCI's patron is HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. In 2007 its largely London-based staff numbered 17.

Dedicated to plant conservation and environmental education, the charity works to support and promote the activities of its member gardens. Its official stated mission is to "mobilise botanic gardens and engage partners in securing plant diversity for the well-being of people and planet."

As a global organisation BGCI has projects in a variety of different countries, with major ongoing projects in Argentina, Japan, China, North America, the Middle East and Russia. Two of its major projects are the creation of on-line searchable databases listing the world's botanic gardens (Garden Search) and plants in cultivation among participating botanic gardens (Plant Search).

On January 18, 2008, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (representing botanic gardens in 120 countries) stated that "400 medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, from over-collection and deforestation, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease." These included Yew tree (the bark is used for cancer drugs, paclitaxel); Hoodia (from Namibiamarker, source of weight loss drugs); half of Magnolias (used as Chinese medicine for 5,000 years to fight cancer, dementia and heart disease); and Autumn crocus (for gout). The group also found that 5 billion people benefit from traditional plant-based medicine for health care

References

  1. BBC NEWS, Medical plants 'face extinction'


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