There are currently 76 structures belonging to the network of Italian Botanical Gardens, plus other Historical Gardens: 31 of these are run by Universities, and the remaining 45 by other institutions (regions, municipalities, etc.).
Here we are dealing mainly with historic Botanical institutions connected to Universities, such as:
Padua Botanical Garden (the second oldest in Italy and one the oldest at world level);
Bologna Botanical Garden;
Ferrara Botanical Garden;
Naples Botanical Garden.
This reference page will grow as more gardens and information are added.
The main goal of the network is to coordinate and promote the activities carried out by the Botanical Gardens, in order to make themselves known, and better promote their functions and their mission.
According to the BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International), a Botanical Garden is an institution open to the public, which maintains a well-documented collection of living plant material, in order to promote:
• scientific research;
• the conservation of plant biodiversity;
• its collections open to the public;
• the activities of environmental education connected with that.
The aims and goals of the Botanical Gardens have thus been so defined, following a lively debate, with careful reference to what is envisaged by the program of the United Nations in terms of sustainable development. In particular reference to European Botanical Gardens, an “Action Plan for Botanic Gardens in the European Union“ has been devised. This document underlies the importance of didactics and the divulgation of knowledge, thus highlighting the fundamental role played by communication -- an indispensable tool in order to make more known and appreciated the botanical heritage, and the related scientific collections, of such institutions; but also to bring the public closer to the diverse scientific activities carried out by the Botanical Gardens, thus playing also a societal role, especially in regards to the importance of conservation.
In fact, because of anthropic activities, and the derived changes in climate, over the last few decades, we have assisted to a vertiginous reduction of many natural ecosystems; the main consequences of this are the reduction of biological diversity, and a reduction also of genetic variations. The plant heritage has been, as a consequence, seriously compromised, and it has become next to impossible to guarantee adequate conservation in nature (in-situ) of many diverse species.
The Italian Botanical Gardens have therefore equipped themselves in order to carry out this important mission of flora conservation, through specific activities of conservation both by the institutions (ex-situ conservation ), of living (plants) and dried (seeds) material, and also in terms of education and divulgation, in order to contribute to the spread of a new environmental culture ambientale, more careful and respectful of the indispensable equilibriums of each form of life in nature.
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