Hortus botanicus first Dutch garden to receive accreditation from Botanic Garden Conservation International
Hortus botanicus Leiden is the first Dutch garden to receive an accreditation from Botanic Gardens International (BGCI). The Conservation Practitioner Accreditation is a certificate that recognizes the policy, knowledge & expertise and education with regard to plant conservation at an international level. The accreditation also underlines the fact that the Hortus maintains plants of local, national or worldwide importance.
To qualify for the accreditation, the Hortus had to fill in a special questionnaire and provide documented evidence of its activities. The BGCI then tested the Hortus on a number of set criteria. This included, for example: sustainability, conducting conservation-oriented research and the presence of collection of conservation value.
Endangered pitcher plants
Hearing about 'endangered species', people tend to think of animals, but many plants are also seriously threatened. For some years, the Dutch Association of Botanical Gardens (NVBT), wherein the Hortus is connected, has been licensed to collect protected and threatened plants in the Netherlands that are on the Red List. The goal is to increase these plants in the botanical gardens for future conservation.
In this way, Hortus Leiden has already cultivated a number of protected and threatened plant species and also shown them to the public. An example of this are four types of pitcher plants (Nepenthes). In collaboration with the non-profit organization Ark of Life, the Hortus started a project in 2010 to protect these species. The pitcher plants are seriously threatened in the wild, but are now growing in the Hortus where they feel perfectly at home. All because the Hortus has the knowledge and experience to cultivate and protect difficult species like this. The pitcher plants can be propagated quickly by cuttings. The Nepenthes are now part of the research collection that aims to save endangered species. By means of a breeding program, the botanical garden hopes to exchange the plants with other botanical gardens in the future and eventually to place them back in nature.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) was founded in 1987 to connect various botanical gardens around the world via a global network, all for the benefit of international plant conservation. The BGCI is an independent charity, but the organization has grown enormously in recent years: more than 500 botanical gardens from 99 countries have joined them.