More than 200 delegates from European gardens gathered in Paris for the 7th EuroGard Congress titled “European Botanic Gardens in the Decade on Biodiversity, Challenges and responsibilities in the countdown towards 2020”. The congress closed on Friday July 10th after a very busy week filled with a mix of academic stimuli and great social events.

Les Grandes Serres, Le Jardin Des Plantes, Paris
Les Grandes Serres, Le Jardin Des Plantes, Paris

Thank you

I would like to thank the organizers, Maïté Delmas, the team at Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, European Botanic Gardens Consortium, BGCI, Global Partnership for Plant Conservation, UNESCO, Conservatoire Botanique National du Bassin Parisien, Jardins Botaniques de France et des Pays Francophones for preparing a great conference programme in the wonderful city of Paris.

I would also like to thank everyone who came to our display in the Orangery, joined our workshop, came to the presentation on Tuesday (co-presented with Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam – recording available below) and visited our poster. Due to technical problems with the electricity supply, our workshop was unfortunately forced to relocate. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Reinout Havinga discussing barcodes at our workshop
Reinout Havinga from Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam discussing barcodes at our workshop

A warm thank you Reinout Havinga, curator at our reference garden in central Europe, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, for helping out at the workshop.

Countdown towards 2020

As the title of the congress indicated, a lot of attention was given to The Global strategy for Plant Conservation and the Nagoya Protocol and the EU regulations for Access and Benefit sharing.

The community of botanic gardens can play an important role on a local, national and international level. The key note address by Dr Paul Smith, General Secretary of BGCI, titled: “The role of BGCI in building a botanic garden-centred global system for the conservation of all plant diversity” clearly demonstrated how the community can contribute in an international context. On Thursday, the focus was more on local and national levels through the key note address by Dr Peter Wyse Jackson, President of Missouri Botanical Garden, titled “The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation –A framework for botanic garden conservation action and the World’s 2020 Plant Challenge”.

Dr Peter Wyse Jackson, President of Missouri BG,  keynote address
Dr Peter Wyse Jackson, President of Missouri BG, keynote address

Both presentations highlighted the role plant collection data plays in this context. The announced improvements to the BGCI plant search was very welcome and will hopefully motivate gardens to upload their data more frequently. This dataset plays an important role in measuring the 2020 targets and the quality of the collection data uploaded will be a deciding factor.

How can we help?

The congress clearly emphasized the importance for plant collection holders to have a robust collection management solution. However, it was also clear that sharing your data, or “Spread the word” as mentioned as action 4, in Peter Wyse Jackson’s key note address, plays an important part in how gardens can participate in the “World’s 2020 Plant Challenge”. We believe that IrisBG is well placed to provide the necessary collection management tools botanic gardens need to meet these challenges. We are not complacent however, as we look forward to working with the community to see how we best can help with the important work that is ahead.

Lunch in the Orangery with delegates from NVBT (Netherlands), Oslo BG (Norway), Helsinki BG (Finland), and Stavanger BG (Norway).
Lunch in the Orangery with delegates from NVBT (Netherlands), Oslo BG (Norway), Helsinki BG (Finland), and Stavanger BG (Norway).

Case study

Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden in South Africa, under the curatorship of Martin Smit, started the process of moving their paper based plant records to IrisBG 18 months ago. Today, they are ready to launch what we believe is the first online plant collection on the African continent. The collection contains several IUCN red list species. In addition, they have also added an educational tour on the Conservation topic of “invasive species”. With the website collection available in English and Afrikaans, Martin and his team can now reach out to both the local and the international community.

Try the tour yourself :

Presentation at EuroGard VII : Barcodes are dead – long live barcodes!

Presented by Reinout Havinga, Curator at Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam and Havard Ostgaard, Manager at Botanical Software Ltd (IrisBG) at the EuroGard VII Congress, Paris, July, 2015. The original title “Learning from the Retail industry – Collection Management With Barcodes”.


Hedge Dressing at Versailles
Hedge Dressing at Versailles
Tour with delegates to Versailles
Tour with delegates to Versailles
EuroGard VII and countdown towards 2020