You are visiting St Andrews Botanic Garden at an exciting time! The botanic garden moved to this location in the 1960s and has changed a lot throughout the past 60 years – and now we are working on our plans for the next 60 years. Our commitment to addressing the challenges of conservation during the biodiversity crisis and a fair transition to Net Zero are at the heart of our plans for the future– and this means making some bold choices and big changes in every area of the Botanic Garden’s work.
Every botanic garden has its areas of focus – for some, it’s taxonomy and systematics, for others, it’s the display of plants from around the world and there’s a spectrum of different expertises in between. Our plan for the Botanic Garden is to establish plant communities where we can study the ecological drivers of evolution, investigating how and why our plants are changing in response to climate change and biosecurity threats – and in turn how they might evolve and what types of plant communities we might see in the future. To reinforce our commitment to conservation in Fife with a global perspective, our focus is going to be on the spectrum of plants and habitats found in temperate climates. Our research has found places around the world with similar climates to St Andrews, sometimes in unexpected places. The biodiversity crisis has different impacts around the world, and this research will allow us to develop partnerships with people and habitats where there are similar types of challenges so that we can collaborate and develop solutions. Transitioning our focus from the display of plants to conservation and research means that the Biocene Garden which will replace the glasshouses, for example, has already reduced our energy consumption by 98%! This is the equivalent to saving the amount of carbon dioxide that 15,000 mature trees sequester every year.
We started work on our Biodiversity Plan in 2021 and will be publishing it October 2022. This plan will set out a 12 year plan for how we will support conservation and research and in turn, set the agenda for all our education work and investment in the Garden. At the heart of the Biodiversity Plan will be two strands to
our research: monitoring plant behaviour in the Botanic Garden and partner
sites, and then using these data to develop forecasts and guidance for
practical decision-making, policy development, and plant conservation.