International Cooperation Amng Botanic Gardens: The Concept of Establishing Agreements

Rudyj, Erich
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University of Delaware
Comprehensive, coordinated international cooperation among botanic gardens is an emerging concept, being based on the mutual benefits for all concerned. Established, oftentimes, as manifestations of European colonial expansionism, the botanic gardens of today have become increasingly isolated and found their positions eroding with the dissolution of world empires. In this research, I propose the following thesis: For the world's botanic gardens and similar institutions to continue to play an important role in the plant sciences, it is imperative that these institutions cooperate at not only the national and regional levels but ultimately at the international level. Furthermore, if significant and effective international cooperation is to occur among botanic gardens, it is best to formalize agreements, by developing written documents. As the traditional stewards of the world's plant resources, botanic gardens must accept the growing challenge of conserving plant taxa for posterity. Complete conservation coverage of all threatened and endangered plant taxa can not be accomplished by individual botanic gardens. The reduction of duplications of effort dictate the need for botanic gardens to engage in international cooperation activities. Plant conservation is not the only reason for botanic gardens to engage in international cooperation activities. Given the new political, cultural and economic factors facing the world's botanic gardens, international cooperation in plant exploration, plant exchanges, institution building and information exchanges is becoming increasingly requisite for successful institutional operation now and into the future. Informal cooperation must be expanded to more formalized levels with commitments to international cooperation being supported by written documents of agreement. By writing agreements, botanic gardens insure a greater probability of success by providing for clearly documented statements of intentions, expectations and abilities as well as long-term institutional memories of cooperation efforts, a means by which external sources of funding may be obtained and gauges by which progress may be assessed and activities may be evaluated.
International , Cooperation , Partnerships , Scientific exchanges