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What Is Plant Conservation?

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  • Written By: Deneatra Harmon
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Images By: Forest And Kim Starr, Monkey Business, Ueuaphoto
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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The concept of plant conservation involves the protection of various plant and flower species from around the world. Plant resources and other forms of biodiversity face threats that include extinction, which necessitates the urgency for conservation. Some environmental conservation resources and other groups have taken steps to keep plant habitats out of danger. Botanic gardeners have designed at least two types of methods that preserve plant life.

Plant conservation strategies exist because thousands of plant species worldwide help to sustain life to humans and animals, as well as planet Earth. Certain fruits and vegetables come from plants, and plant-based ingredients or extracts can be found in medicine or household products. Plants help to control the processes involved in the water cycle, as well as provide oxygen to the atmosphere from photosynthesis. They have also protected Earth’s atmosphere from carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels. In addition to human use, plants also provide habitat and food sources for animals and fish.

Some experts note that the need for plant conservation arises because certain human errors threaten biodiversity. Overpopulation, overuse of natural resources and energy, and habitat destruction for development have all endangered the lives of plants and even animal habitats. Pollution and other aspects of climate change have also endangered plant habitats and resources. These habits or activities continue to threaten plants as well as the planet, according to experts, so plant conservation efforts seek to reverse the trend.

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Environmentalists and other groups have implemented several strategies and projects to preserve plant resources. Some efforts include educating the general public through workshops and providing resources about the effects that destruction and global warming have on plants. Botanic gardens from all over the world participate in the collection of plant species in an effort to conserve them and protect their natural habitats. Such groups participate in habitat restoration, which includes recreating and maintaining the plants’ vegetation types.

In terms of developing sustainable practices, botanic gardens and other groups generally use two types of plant conservation methods. “In situ” conservation involves caring for plants on site in their natural settings. In situ conservation not only attempts to guard plants from climate change or habitat loss, but it also protects against invasive, or "alien," plant species. “Ex situ” conservation removes whole plants or plant samples from their natural environment. With this technique, gardeners place the plants in seed banks, tissue cultures, or living botanical collections to protect them from threats.

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