Candide and Botanical Software: technology cultivating garden visitation and collection management

Waheed Arshad, Havard Ostgaard, Mats Havström, Jo Elworthy, Jon Hall, Keenan Simons, Helen Allsebrook
2021 Sibbaldia  
It is clear that the biodiversity crisis and overarching threat of climate change are having a fundamental impact on the biology of the planet. Botanic gardens, and related institutions, are uniquely positioned as centres of expertise in plant biodiversity. Their efforts in the exploration and documentation of biodiversity are also a fundamental prerequisite for the conservation of plants. The systematised and structured documentation of a garden's collection of plant material, together with
more » ... collection policy and overall mission, characterises an institution as a botanic garden. However, the currently available tools and processes are not cost-effective, accessible at a global level, and do not provide the necessary efficiency for the needs and workflows of botanic gardens and plant collection management. In the context of gardens and visitation, there is also a growing disconnection between people and plants, particularly in an increasingly urbanised world. Here, we present numerous innovative initiatives towards tackling these challenges, assisted by technology. We discuss the application of machine-learning in the automatic identification of plants (including composite tools such as Augmented Reality), and digital engagement through mobile-based complementations to visitors' experiences. We also explore the documentation of quality data for botanical collections, and how advancements in collection management systems will play a major role in the efforts of the botanic garden community, and use of their richly-diverse plant collections in the vanguard of research, conservation, education, and visitation. Thus, ongoing technological developments in tools for botanic gardens and their visitors, present positive and influential contributions in tackling global challenges associated with plant conservation and engaging the broadest and most diverse audiences.
doi:10.24823/sibbaldia.2021.318 fatcat:dgro7gwxfjda5k3rxsiuvn73ly