Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance.
Stewardship of human resources includes consideration of social responsibilities such as working and living conditions of laborers, the needs of rural communities, and consumer health and safety both in the present and the future. Stewardship of land and natural resources involves maintaining or enhancing this vital resource base for the long term.
A systems perspective is essential to understanding sustainability. The system is envisioned in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, and to communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally. An emphasis on the system allows a larger and more thorough view of the consequences of farming practices in both human communities and the environment. A systems approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment.
A systems approach also implies interdisciplinary efforts in research and education. This requires not only the input of researchers from various disciplines, but also farmers, farmworkers, consumers, policymakers, and others.
Making the transition to sustainable agriculture is a process. For farmers, the transition to sustainable agriculture normally requires a series of small, realistic steps. Family economics and personal goals influence how fast or how far participants can go in the transition. It is important to realize that each small decision can make a difference and contribute to advancing the entire system further on the “sustainable agriculture continuum.” The key to moving forward is the will to take the next step.
Finally, it is important to point out that reaching the goal of sustainable agriculture is the responsibility of all participants in the system, including farmers, laborers, policymakers, researchers, retailers, and consumers. Each group has its own part to play, its own unique contribution to make to strengthen the sustainable agriculture community.
There is a pressing need to conserve and restore global plant diversity, yet the insufficient capacity to do so. We believe that every botanic garden can provide an important capacity to support plant conservation, restoration, and education. While already significant, with greater support, coordination, and collaboration the combined power and impact of botanic gardens will yield increasingly significant results for plant conservation.
We support local plant conservation action informed by a global perspective.
As a designate for implementing the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, we raise awareness of the issues and advocate for support needed to address them.
We are a proactive hub that connects and mobilizes gardens. Our online databases, publications, and global congresses support collaboration and knowledge-sharing that enables strategic planning, collaboration, and action.
We develop tools that help botanic gardens better understand and build their role in supporting conservation, restoration, and education.
The Modern Botanical Garden’s Research, Conservation and Collections Department takes a multidisciplinary approach to understand the plants and environments of the desert regions of the world. Research specialties at the Garden include:
Science that seeks to understand the complexity of the fantastic diversity of life on Earth in order to protect, conserve, and restore this diversity for the benefit of future generations. Conservation has been a part of Modern Botanical Garden’s mission since its founding in 1989.
The Earth currently supports over one and a half million described species of plants, animals, and micro-organisms, and scientists predict that there are at least another one and a half million species in existence that have yet to be discovered.
The Study that aims to document, explain and classify the tremendous diversity of plants that we see today, forming the basis for most conservation efforts. Plant systematists working at the Garden use traditional methods, such as morphology and cytology, as well as the modern approaches of DNA sequencing and fingerprinting technologies.
Modern approaches in plant systematics not only attempt to provide detailed descriptions, useful classifications, and scientific names but also to thoroughly understand all this in the context of the evolutionary history of plants.
The study of the processes, mechanisms, and outcomes of inherited changes in organisms over time.
Evolutionary biology is an interdisciplinary field of study incorporating diverse disciplines, especially taxonomy, systematics, paleontology, biogeography, genetics, molecular biology, and ecology.
Study of the relationships of organisms with their physical environment and each other.
Ecology is one of the most complex and challenging sciences. The study and understanding of these complexities are essential for devising effective means to conserve the world’s biodiversity.
ONGOING RESEARCH AT THE GARDEN
- Investigations of the spread and ecological impacts of non-native species
- Impacts of fire on Mohave Desert ecosystems
- Study of the ecological consequences of various land uses, including grazing
- Documentation of long-lasting environmental changes, including soil erosion that occurred in pre-Columbian times
- Systematics of the agaves of Nevada
- Systematics of the cacti of Nevada
RECENT ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH BY GARDEN SCIENTISTS INCLUDE:
- Study of plant responses to climate variation, including extreme drought
- Investigations of ways in which plants in arid regions modify the physical environment
- Plant-soil relationships
- Paleoecological studies that investigate past vegetation changes in the Mohave Desert region
- Natural history and ecology of long-lived desert plants
- Plant-animal interactions including seed dispersal and pollination