PLAN(E)T: Plants for the future - A future for our planet

March 2012 to February 2016, overarching research project funded by an international foundation for nature conservation

Plants are generally under-represented in conservation. However, several global initiatives driven or lead by Botanical Gardens Conservation International such as the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) and Plants for the Planet bring a significant change. The 16 targets of the GSPC have as long-term objective to halt the current and continuing loss of plant diversity within a framework for actions at global, regional, national and local level. Botanical gardens play a key role in conservation of plant biodiversity, and as is stated in Target 8 of the GSPC, at least 75 % of threatened plant species should be present in ex situ collections by 2020.

A research program was launched to compare genetic diversity between wild populations and living ex situ plant collections of three unrelated Angiosperm groups with different life histories and growth forms, i.e. Hydrangea, Magnolia and selected cactus genera. The project is executed in collaboration with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the Instituto de Ecología (INECOL), Mexico. For more information you can visit the BGCI website.
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We are looking for further international cooperation with interested gardens and researchers, and we expect to form a scientific network studying genetic diversity in plants for conservation purposes under the auspices of BGCI. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to cooperate, exchange experiences, or if you do have comments or questions.
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Relevant publications:
Larridon I, Veltjen E, Semmouri I, Asselman P, Guerrero PC, Duarte M, Walter HE, Cisternas MA, Samain MS. (submitted) Population genetics and 3D mapping support species boundaries and reveal high extinction risk of two endemic Chilean cactus species. Flora.
Ossa CG, Larridon I, Peralta G, Assselman P, Pérez F. (2016) Development of microsatellite markers using next-generation sequencing for the columnar cactus Echinopsis chiloensis (Cactaceae). Molecular Biology Reports 43: DOI: 10.1007/s11033-016-4069-9.
Cires E, De Smet Y, Cuesta C, Goetghebeur P, Sharrock S, Gibbs D, Oldfield S, Kramer A, Samain MS. (2013) Gap analyses to support ex situ conservation of genetic diversity in Magnolia, a flagship plant group. Biodiversity and Conservation 22: 567-590.
Samain MS, Cires E. (2012) Plants for the future – A future for our planet. Towards a protocol for genetic management of ex situ living plant collections. BG Journal 9 (1): 3-6. Click here to download a PDF of this article.

Principal investigators:
Prof. Dr. Isabel Larridon
Prof. Dr. Marie-Stéphanie Samain

Prof. Dr. Paul Goetghebeur
Dr. Sara Oldfield - BGCI, UK

Laboratory technician:
Pieter Asselman

Instituto de Ecología (INECOL), Mexico

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), UK

Fondation Franklinia

Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund project grant (n° 11251854)

A private sponsor

Ghent University
Department of Biology
Research Group Spermatophytes
Ghent University Botanical Garden