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Conservation in Botanic Gardens

This programme is designed for AS/A level students studying bio-diversity and conservation.  It provides a range of activities that enable students to explore the importance of bio-diversity, the need for conservation, and the role of botanic gardens in ex situ plant conservation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme students should be able to:

  • Explain how bio-diversity may be considered at different levels – habitat, species and genetic
  • Outline the reasons for the conservation of plant species with reference to economic, ecological, ethical and aesthetic grounds
  • Discuss the consequences of global climate change on the bio-diversity of plants with reference to spread of disease
  • Describe the conservation of endangered plant species ex situ, with reference to the advantages and disadvantages of this approach
  • Discuss the role of botanic gardens in both ex situ and in situ conservation of rare plant species or plant species extinct in the wild, with reference to seed banks
  • Discuss the importance of international co-operation in species conservation


Words and phrases related to:

  • Bio-diversity – species, organism, habitat, bio-diversity, genes
  • Adaptation – behavioural, physiological, anatomical
  • Conservation – extinction, critical, endangered, vulnerable, monoculture, gene pool, genetic erosion, evolution, in situ, ex situ, repopulation, seed bank

Programme details

Learning objective


To welcome students to Westonbirt and provide overview of programme


Westonbirt – its history, management and current work on conservation

To consider potential conflicts between visitors and conservation at Westonbirt

Where do you stand?

A selection of questions for students to consider and discuss regarding the impact and issues of catering for visitors whilst conserving rare plant species

To identify why bio-diversity is important for wildlife, people and global ecosystems


Bio-diversity explore

Students explore an arboretum glade, searching for variety, adaptations and trees from around the world.

Discussion of specific tree species and why they are important to people and wildlife.

To consider the reasons for conservation of plant species


Tree management and tree conservation

Endangered, threatened with extinction – Cupressus duprenziana

  • Can trees be endangered?
  • Should we protect them? Why?
  • What would you do to help protect an endangered animal?  Or an endangered plant?
  • A discussion about the need for pest control to protect trees

Limited by location / genetic erosion – Monterey Pine

  • How can physical features and human activity cause genetic erosion and what are the impacts for bio-diversity?
  • Discussion about the possibilities of repopulation

The impact of climate change – Maples

  • How is our changing climate beginning to impact our tree collection?
  • Exploring why bio-diversity is important in coping with climate change

Poor gene pool – Wollemi

  • The impact a small gene pool can have on the survival, adaptation and evolution of a species

To discuss the conservation of plants ex situ and consider the advantages and disadvantages of this approach

Conservation, seeds banks and the future

A quick look at the propagation unit and discussion about our conservation work, seed gathering expeditions, the seed bank at Wakehurst Place and the future.

To generate questions related to different aspects of conservation

Conclusion - Compass Rose

Using a selection of photos of visitors and management at Westonbirt to discuss the ecological, economic, social and political issues associated with deforestation and conservation


England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.