Alabama is rich in biological diversity. Our mussels and fish have earned us the rank of #1 in the nation for freshwater biodiversity and Alabama is ranked #5 in the nation for overall diversity and #9 for plant diversity. Unfortunately, we are ranked #4 in the country in the percentage of species at risk of extinction. Conserving our plant biodiversity is critical to the sustainability of earth’s biological systems.
Plant conservation is part of the core mission of the arboretum and it communicates with other arboreta and collaborates with other groups to foster both education and conservation. We align our efforts with groups such as the American Public Garden Association (APGA), the North American Plant Collection Consortium (NAPCC), Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S. (BGCI) and closer to home, the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance. The arboretum is a founding member of the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance (APCA) and involved in Alabama conservation. To find out about specific conservation projects, look at the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance website. May 15th and 16th of 2014 the arboretum will host the first joint meeting between the GPCA and the APCA. Details will be made available closer to the date.
The greatest threat to biodiversity, after habitat destruction, is the invasion of exotic, non-native species. The arboretum works to foster awareness of this issue by holding workshops and programs, both on and off campus.