Botanical Gardens

Dunedin Botanic Gardens, 2020. Aotearoa New Zealand.

 In the Te Moananui Oceania context, botanical gardens are usually council-owned and are collections of plants that have the purpose of scientific research, conservation, display, and education. They provide large green infrastructure within the urban context.

Name of NbS

Botanical Gardens

Type of NbS

Created or constructed living ecosystem


Botanical gardens are most likely situated in urban areas. They provide open green spaces to urban dwellers.

Case Study:

Auckland Botanic Gardens

Ene’io Botanical Garden

Vailima Botanical Gardens

The Discovery Garden

Fragrant garden at the Wellington Botanical Garden, Aotearoa New Zealand. Photograph by Wellington City Council.

Relationship to Indigenous knowledge

Botanical gardens first originated in Europe and are linked to the study of botany and were often part of medical faculties in universities. Over time Te Moananui Oceania countries have adopted the practice of holding collections of many local and international plants to educate people about the environmental and cultural importance, and the health and well-being benefits of plants.

Climate change benefits

Biomass cover loss, changes in phenology, changes in rainfall, increased temperatures, reduced air quality, reduced soil quality, reduced water quality.

With the increase in urbanisation in the 21st century, urban forests and botanical gardens alongside green infrastructure are important spaces for improving the health of biodiversity and people. Urban trees reduce air pollution, store carbon, and mitigate water pollution by reducing stormwater runoff (Cavender & Donnelly, 2019). Many botanical gardens in Te Moananui Oceania act as green infrastructure that stores vast amounts of carbon and absorbs water and filters polluted air. 

With the development of botanical gardens in the context of climate change, bioclimatic models have been introduced to “project possible changes in the geographical range of species in response to such (climatic) change” (Donaldson, 2009). Botanical gardens can contribute to climate change adaptation by acting as a living lab therefore for studying the spatial and temporal changes happening to plants.   

Read More
Societal / socio-cultural benefits

Biodiversity health and conservation, climate change adaptation, economic and social development, human physical health and wellbeing, pressures of urbanisation 

One of the main priorities of botanical gardens is education and research alongside conservation of certain species. With the increase in urbanisation, there has been a loss of biodiversity in urban areas (Donaldson, 2009). Botanical gardens provide plant collections that contribute to biodiversity conservation as well as educate the public on plant taxa (Donaldson, 2009).  

Read More
Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Aesthetic Value/ artistic inspiration, climate regulation, creation of a sense of place, cultural diversity and history, education and knowledge, habitat provision, pollination, recreation and tourism, relaxation, and psychological wellbeing

Botanical gardens provide large amounts of biodiversity and habitat provision in urban networks (Ali, & Trivedi, 2011). They also act as seed sources for revegetation and can become stepping-stone habitats between patches of native habitat (an example of this is the Wellington Botanical Garden in Aotearoa New Zealand).  

Read More

Technical requirements

Botanical gardens need a team that is able to keep up regular maintenance within the gardens due to often large sizes and planting variations. The implementation of botanical gardens usually involves council funding. 

Issues and Barriers

With climate change, botanical gardens will face challenges common to all urban green spaces including some species not being able to adapt to new climate conditions, and loss of key pollinator or sed distribution species (Maunder, 1994). Urban densification also puts pressure on urban green spaces.


Botanic gardens provide opportunities to conserve declining plant populations. They can become educational, provide habitat, but also support cultural identities if species are carefully selected to create ‘living libraries’. This concept was explored for Port Vila, Vanuatu by Pedersen Zari et al. (2017).

  • Ali, N. S., & Trivedi, C. (2011). Botanic gardens and climate change: a review of scientific activities at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Biodiversity and Conservation20(2), 295-307.
  • Cavender, N., & Donnelly, G. (2019). Intersecting urban forestry and botanical gardens to address big challenges for healthier trees, people, and cities. Plants, People, Planet1(4), 315-322.
  • Donaldson, J. S. (2009). Botanic gardens science for conservation and global change. Trends in plant science14(11), 608-613.
  • Maunder, M. (1994). Botanic gardens: future challenges and responsibilities. Biodiversity & Conservation3(2), 97-103.
  • Pedersen Zari, M., Blaschke, P. M., Livesey, C., Martinez-Almoyna Gual, C., Weaver, S., Archie, K. M., & Renwick, J. (2017). Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EbA) Project Implementation Plans, Port Vila, Vanuatu. SPREP, Wellington, New Zealand.