Cloud Forests : Conserving Our Botanical Treasures

San Francisco Botanical Garden's Southeast Asian Cloud Forest
Expeditions and Partnerships
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New Conifer Discovered
(The Garden: Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society)

Reflections on Cloud Forests in Vietnam
(Leaflet; PDF 228k)

Vietnam Expeditions
Coming May 2002:
Explore the Philippines
Trek thru Indonesia

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Historically, scientific explorers who visited the tropics to perform their research and collecting did not leave behind any acknowledgment or benefit to the country in which they did their work. They did not submit reports, field notes, photographs, or specimens from their work, leaving the source country ignorant of any research or information on their country's biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity attempts to remedy this situation. It is based on the premise that the biodiversity (living organisms) within a certain country belong to that country, and anyone, from pharmaceutical companies to botanical gardens, who wants access to that country's biodiversity, must work out a mutual agreement with that country. The CBD also calls for sharing of benefits, and San Francisco Botanical Garden does this in a non-monetary way, funding the costs of expeditions, and offering opportunities for capacity-building of partner institutions.

From a global perspective, it is not only important but critical for botanical gardens to establish ties with other gardens and institutions around the world that have similar goals of education and conservation. Such partnerships should be considered extensions of San Francisco Botanical Garden's own mission of education and conservation.

Village in misty mountains
  Black Tai Village, Vietnam


In 2000, former San Francisco Botanical Garden Plant Collections Manager Bian Tan began corresponding with Dr. Daniel Harder, head of the Vietnam Program of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Vietnam Program is an ongoing partnership between the Missouri Botanical Gardens and the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources in Hanoi. Through this partnership, MBG was able to include Bian on a field expedition in 2001 as a visiting scientist. In addition to Bian assisting with collecting, identifying, and processing of the expedition's specimens, San Francisco Botanical Garden also paid for a portion of the expedition costs, including the salary of one of the field botanists during the expedition.


Dr. Nguyen Tien Hiep, Botanical Conservation Program Coordinator, Institute of Ecology and Bioresources, Hanoi Dr. Phan Ke Loc, collaborating botanist, Vietnam University, Hanoi Dr. Leonid Averyanov, collaborating botanist, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg Dr. Dan Harder, Botanical Conservation Program Leader, Missouri Botanical Garden

Balinese Temple Gates
  Temple Entrance,
   Bali, Indonesia


From 1995 to 2002, former San Francisco Botanical Garden Collections Manager Bian Tan worked with the Ethnobotanical Conservation Organization for South East Asia (Eco-Sea). Eco-Sea Director Jeanine Pfeiffer has been instrumental in facilitating a collaborative project between San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Indonesian Botanic Gardens. In exchange for hosting Bian in Indonesia and organizing joint plant collecting in cloud forests, San Francisco Botanical Garden and Eco-Sea hosted Mr. Ida Bagus Ketut Arinasa, head of the Bali Botanic Gardens, for a study tour of California in October 1998. Since the partnership began, Bian visited Indonesia three times, bringing back seeds and cuttings from cloud forests and botanical gardens in Indonesia.


Ms. Jeanine Pfeiffer, Executive Director, Ethnobotanical Conservation Organization for SE Asia, Davis, California Mr. Ida Bagus Ketut Arinasa, Head, Bali Botanic Gardens, Indonesia Ms. Irene Wibawa, Director, Ethnobotanical Conservation Organization for SE Asia, Davis, California

  Igorot Women, Luzon, Philippines


In 1998, former San Francisco Botanical Garden Plant Collections Manager Bian Tan initiated a partnership with the Philippine National Museum through Dr. Domingo Madulid, head of the Philippine National Herbarium. This has resulted in two expeditions to the Central Cordilleras of Luzon island, and a study tour of California for Dr. Madulid and Ms. Maribel Agoo, Plant Conservation Officer of the Biodiversity Information Center.


Dr. Domingo Madulid, Curator of Philippine National Herbarium, Manila Ms. Maribel Agoo, Plant Conservation Officer, Biodiversity Information Center, Philippine National Museum, Manila

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