Conservation Design Guidelines for Botanic Gardens

C. Craig Houston, Utah State University


Botanic gardens worldwide are asked to be centers of conservation. However, little is written about conservation-specific planning and design forms botanic gardens should use to fulfill this assignment. After looking at the history of botanic gardens, with a focus on the purpose/design relationship, examining design guidelines suggested in and inferred from the literature, and presenting habitat conservation principles and sustainable construction guidelines from other areas of practice, the author developed conservation design guidelines for botanic gardens focused on conservation. The guidelines address the following five categories: (1) Mission Statement and Site Character, (2) Presentation of Native Habitats, (3) Presentation of Native Plants in Man-made Landscapes, (4) Sustainable Practices in Daily Operations, and (5) Educational Components. To illustrate the guidelines, they were applied in a hypothetical, conceptual redesign of the Belize Botanic Gardens, located near San Ignacio, Belize.