Species Stewards

Species Stewards of the Global Conservation Consortia are institutions, represented by named individuals, that commit to long-term management of priority species at:

  1. Ex situ sites such as at a botanic garden or other collection;
  2. Near situ (or similar) conservation sites, such as plantations or reintroduction sites within the natural range of a species; and/or
  3. Sites where priority threatened species grow in situ as part of the native ecosystem

About Species Stewards

Species Stewards may manage priority species at any combination of conservation sites, which constitute a portion of the metacollection for a priority species. A metacollection is a network of coordinated sites that safeguard genetic diversity for a species. Sites include but are not limited to, botanic gardens, private collections and/or landholdings, nurseries, parks, universities, indigenous communities’ land, government or other managed natural areas, reintroduction sites, seed orchards, and land conservancies.

Species Stewards will typically focus efforts on threatened species that have been prioritized by the Consortium. Species Stewards will, as appropriate, support the following activities for priority species.

Activities Supported by Species Stewards

  • Acquire and exchange germplasm with prior informed consent, according to all relevant international, national and local laws, regulations and customs;
  • Avoid causing harm to the environment or biodiversity; and ultimately support the long-term conservation of genetically diverse and representative plant populations;
  • For Species Stewards managing ex situ germplasm/material:
    • Record compliance documentation for relevant material acquisitions; 
    • Document and maintain plants or other viable germplasm and associated information for living accessions and specimens according to best practices in the BGCI Botanic Garden Manual (pgs. 36, 48-64) and expert advice;
    • Duplicate and make germplasm available to Consortium participants, proactively, by request, or upon deaccessioning or leaving the Consortium; and maintain and report records of germplasm distribution;
  • For Species Stewards managing in situ populations: 
    • document, monitor, and protect naturally occurring populations of priority species according to best practices and expert advice, as possible;
    • make their site available to other Consortium participants and other affinitive groups to gather data based on the managed natural populations, as possible;
  • Support and utilize germplasm for research, conservation, educational, and other activities, in keeping with the GCC objectives;
  • Develop and share with Consortium lead propagation protocols for priority species
  • Promote the Consortium and advocate to policymakers, funders, the general public, and others as appropriate; track and report such activities to the CSC on an annual basis;
  • Work collaboratively and strategically to fill gaps in representation in the metacollection, via inclusion of accessions from across the native range of the species, representing a broad diversity of habitat types and ecological variation for the species;
  • Track Consortium-related activities, including research, conservation, and metacollection work  involving the priority species, and report to BGCI and the CSC on an annual basis;
  • Consider achieving the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation, the BGCI institutional Accreditations, and/or other professional accreditations and networks; and
  • As appropriate, contribute and maintain up-to-date information in BGCI’s GardenSearch, PlantSearch, and PlantSearch Pedigree databases, including upload of taxon, accession and specimen data on an annual basis.

Metacollection networks can self-organize and/or identify a Species Coordinator to undertake the following activities:

  • Compile, coordinate, and report activities among Species Stewards and Affiliates for the priority species;
  • Compile or update the IUCN Red List assessment for the priority species;
  • Develop a tailored strategy for building the priority species’ ex situin situ, and/or near situ (or similar) combined metacollection, that addresses the species’ conservation needs;
  • Recruit and support metacollection sites that broadly represent the priority species’ natural distribution;
  • Encourage engagement with local and indigenous communities in the region on topics including indigenous and traditional ethnobotanical knowledge; and
  • Encourage Species Stewards to contribute updated accession and specimen data for priority species to the CSC and/or BGCI’s PlantSearch Pedigree database.