Palm Biologist Scott Zona

The Center for Tropical Plant Conservation

Dr Jack Fisher

The Center for Tropical Plant Conservation is dedicated to conserving tropical plants, driven by the imperative to avoid the extinction of species and their habitats. These activities are measured by the delivery of quantifiable conservation benefits to Fairchild's priority geographic investment regions (South Florida, Caribbean, oceanic islands, tropical Africa, and Madagascar) and plant groups (palms, cycads, tropical fruit and tropical trees). These have been selected because of conservation need, institutional expertise and history. Main activities include field exploration of important plant areas, conservation assessments, species recovery and direct support to in-situ conservation.

Botanical science programs at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden emphasize research and Species and Habitat Conservation projects aimed at understanding and preserving tropical plant biodiversity.

Palm Research

The palm family is an economically important pantropical plant family, second only to grasses (grains) in importance to the lives of people. Many palms are endangered in the wild, largely because of habitat destruction. Difficult to study because of their large size and great diversity of species, palms present many unanswered questions in the areas of systematics, evolution, structural biology and reproductive biology. With its superb living collections of palms, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a world center for palm studies, biology, information and Species and Habitat Conservation. The Fairchild Guide to Palms includes Fairchild's palm horticultural data, image library, and listings of living plants and DNA samples. These data are provided to support global efforts to conserve, study, and appreciate the diversity of palms.

Counting Stems

Tropical Fruit Crops

Tropical fruit trees are increasingly important in agroforestry and in sustainable agricultural development throughout the tropics. Despite growing demand for improved selection of tropical fruit and the introduction of new germplasm; the horticulture and biology of many tropical tree crops are poorly understood. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an international leader in introducing new cultivars, conserving germplasm collections, and providing tropical fruit information and genetic material to the industry and the general public.

Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega and Dr. Carl Lewis examine an Opuntia

South Florida Plant Species and Habitat Conservation

The region's ecosystems are disrupted by expanding urbanization, agriculture and invasive exotic plants, yet urban South Florida depends fundamentally on these ecosystems. Particularly threatened are the pine rocklands, a site of imminent species extinctions. Restoring the local environment requires immediate and accurate documentation of the present condition of plant biodiversity throughout the region. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is the main research institution engaged in studies of local endangered species and their reintroduction in South Florida.

Graduate Studies

Graduate students may carry out thesis research with a Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden researcher in various areas of tropical botany. The degree is awarded by local universities, Florida International Universtiy and University of Miami.

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11935 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156-4299 USA

Phone: 305-667-1651   •   Fax 305-665-8032