New Article Published on Plant Collection Half-life

A team of researchers from Montgomery Botanical Center, The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens, and Jardin Botanico de Vallarta (Vallarta Botanic Garden) led by Patrick Griffith, Executive Director at MBC, has published an open access article in Curator The Museum Journal titled, “Plant Collection ‘Half-life:’ Can Botanic Gardens Weather the Climate?” The article looks at MBC inventory records and GIS maps to estimate the half-life of the plant collection as influenced by weather events (hurricanes) and climate events (sea level rise). To quote from the text:

“As “living museums,” botanic gardens serve to engage and inspire. Like other museums, botanic gardens are organized around collections: we stock, study and show heritage, history and handsomeness – thus, gardens are truly (horti)cultural institutions…But living collections planted outdoors are much more directly subject to environmental variance than either those items housed in buildings, or even nonliving outdoor collections (e.g. Moore or Botero, or geologic displays). As living organisms, these collections respond favorably under ideal conditions (i.e., growth and flowering) and yet may decline or even perish when conditions are unfavorable.”

In 100 years, how many plants do we expect to lose and what precentage of our landsite would we expect to be lost to sea level rise? Will we lose more young or old plants? These are a few of the questions asked and answered in this paper.