What is a botanic gardens ?
Since no agency gives legal accreditation to botanic gardens, anyone can call any garden a botanic gardens and no one can stop them. There are, however, some generally accepted criteria for defining the terms 'botanic gardens' or 'botanical gardens'.
The Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy 1989 endorsed by IUCN, WWF,
FAO, UNEP, and UNESCO; and the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in
Conservation (2000) contain the following:
DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF A BOTANIC GARDENS
The following is a list of criteria that may be met in part or whole by any institution that is considered to be a botanic garden:
The above list does not, however, constitute a comprehensive summary of the activities undertaken by botanic gardens.
IUCN Botanic Gardens Conservation Secretariat,
Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom (1989).
It should be recognised that there are many institutions that
are clearly botanic gardens but are only able to meet some of these criteria.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has produced the following
definition of a botanic garden which it hopes encompasses the spirit of a true
Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education.
(Wyse Jackson 1999, p.27)
The only legal definition of a botanic garden in Commonwealth legislation occurs in the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975. This definition is carried forward into the replacement Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by bridging legislation.
NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT 1975 - SECT 3
"botanic garden" means a scientific and educational institution the purpose of which is the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and appreciation of plants by:
In the same Act, with regard to the preparation of Plans of Management:
NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ACT 1975 - SECT 11
(8) In the preparation of the plan of management, regard shall be had to the following objects:
Heywood, V.H. (ed) (1989) The Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy, IUCN Botanic Gardens Conservation Secretariat, Kew, Richmond, UK.
Wyse Jackson, P.S and Sutherland, L.A. (2000) International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Kew, Richmond, UK.