For California Plant Rescue, we are conducting a gap analysis of the conservation collections of California native plants by compiling the “living collections” and seed accessions of six botanic gardens. There are a few instances where living collections clearly represent intentional, population level conservation collections at a single institution. However, there are also a several instance of multiple institution having different, wild provenanced accessions of the same species (Quercus dumosa, Abies bracteata, several species of Arctostaphylos). Is it useful to designate these meta-collections as a conservation collection for gap analysis purposes? Or is it not a true conservation collection if the individuals are not from the same population?
While I do not have an answer to this question I am interested in the idea. The Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance maintains some species collections in a way that divides ex situ material so that different member gardens are safeguarding different populations. This is mainly done when in situ seed production in low or non-existent so we can have controlled outcrossing of select individuals. It represents a similar effort.
Atlanta Botanical Garden maintains a database of ex situ and in situ conservation activities for GPCA. Many GPCA members gardens are not art of CPC, and I am wondering if and/ or how to enter national collection info for species that are spread out among GPCA members. It is great to have this forum to discuss these things!