Our world is changing faster than ever the human population is soaring. Our climate is in flux. Societies are on the move everywhere people are leaving the countryside and moving to towns and cities and search for a better life. Just when we need to understand it, more humankind is turning its back on the natural world. Human activity is responsible for the extinction of plants species and habitats. We are now witnessing the greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs and it emotionalized our communities. The poor, the weak and the excluded will be the hardest hit as we disconnect from nature. The challenge for us all is to ensure a sustainable and bio-diverse world for the future, in the headlong dash to urbanization and our flight from nature, this may seem like a hopeless prospect, yet even in the urban jungle nature has a foothold.
Botanic Gardens have been collecting and studying plants for decades some for centuries. Most are located in towns and cities around the world havens of calm and contemplation at the clamorous city life. Traditionally introspective and plant-focused, they tend to draw visitors from the same part of the social spectrum, no matter where in the world they are located. But now some gardens are beginning to look up from their plants beyond the gates to their wider social and environmental responsibilities. Worldwide gardens are pioneering projects with local communities who until now have felt excluded.
There are gardens mentoring ethnic minority students into scientific careers, offering horticultural therapy for people with disabilities, and supporting communities to grow their own food. These are the new shoots of a more dynamic relationship between botanic gardens and their communities.
Legazpi Oasis project offers the means and resources to support “turn the corner” on environmental awareness in Legazpi City. The project offers opportunities to develop native plant species and sustainable flora for horticultural use, as well as to educate the public on the important interrelationship of plants and human. This thesis proposes a Botanical Garden in Legazpi City that can serve as a paragon for future environmentally friendly parks and recreation developments in tropical region that will provide a variety of new and exciting ways while addressing important urban environmental issues of restoration and conservation.
With many variations of the meaning of the term oasis, the one common thread is the fact that it is a peaceful place in our everyday lives, a paradise where you can find safety and sustenance. There is a need of a refuge from the rapid increase of urbanization. The botanic gardens aim to lead by example by explaining to visitors the current status of the environment by making them experience what it’s like to be in an oasis.
The main agenda of the project is for visitors to recognize that diversity, among people and the natural environment, is an essential resource. As people increasingly impact the natural world, both locally and worldwide, communities need to value and explore a diversity of ideas and experiences to effectively address the critical issues that the environment faces. The Legazpi Oasis’s goal is to create a dynamic space where visitors will be immersed in a unique experience so that they may appreciate the environment. By upholding the highest ethical and professional standards in all operations and exhibit, the Legazpi Oasis provokes the interest of the visitors in contemporary issues about the environment and encourages a deeper level of engagement.
Green houses and Research facilities are the best place to teach about the plant conservations to a large audience in meaningful ways. Through a combination of their curiosity and willingness to learn, the botanic garden will immerse the visitors in a learning experience through the world Oasis. From the experience of the visitors, an idea will be developed to initiate changes in in their everyday lives. The botanic gardens aim to lead by example by explaining to visitors the current status of the environment by making them experience what it’s like to be in an oasis. The goal is that visitors will have a sense of awareness thus prompting them to learn about sustainable practices be able to implement them at home.
Botanical gardens are often associated with education. The project aims to broaden the people’s perspective about botanic garden by creating an experience that will be relaxing, enjoyable and pleasurable. A venue where people can retreat from their daily routine and leisure venue that the whole family can actively enjoy. The Legazpi oasis, aside from being a place for education and learning will also be a place for exploration and entertainment. The botanic garden will attract the curiosity of the people by providing visitors with a different kind of experience.
Lastly, the presence of the Legazpi Oasis will cater an opportunity to showcase the culture that this country has. With people from all over the world taking an opportunity to experience this one of a kind attraction, they will also be presented with the culture through interaction with locals. Their experience inside and outside the botanic garden will also help promote the cultural aspects of this country.
However, there are many problems involved in basic ecology. For example, the introduction of new plants into the garden make it necessary for a knowledge of which plants will live in association with each other. It is also necessary to have a knowledge of the physiology of plants concerning flowering, nutrition, insects, and disease. Actually, a basic knowledge of all these plants is desirable and valuable because the growing population of our communities need and use this knowledge. In a regional botanic garden, the research programs have the responsibility of making such knowledge available.
Botanic gardens and arboreta functioning as research centers serve the sciences of botany and horticulture in basic research and also serve the general public with applied research. They provide the facilities through which the amateur researcher may share in the same knowledge gained by the professional scientist. The research centers provide facilities through their buildings, plant collections, herbaria, laboratories, and libraries. In short, the research centers perform the necessary and vital function of developing the knowledge to answer the basic and applied needs in botany and horticulture for the community in the selection of a site for a botanical garden and research center, some basic factors must be kept in mind. First, the site should be somewhat centrally located in the area it is to serve. Second, the site should have easy access to the basic facilities necessary to operate such a center; namely, the site should be near a highway, and should have plenty of convenient parking for visitors and staff members. Third, the site should be located where the necessary utilities, such as water, electricity, sewage, and natural gas are readily available.
The basic problem of knowledge and education of botany is the fact that there are not nearly enough facilities available in one location in the Philippines for extensive study and research in all phases of botany. It should be relatively near some institution of higher learning to be of benefit to more students and perhaps encourage further study by some in the field of botany. The plans for a botanical garden and research center should include adequate facilities for research and laboratory work, lecture areas, display or demonstration space for educational aids for students and for the public as well. A research center of this type must be planned so that both its public activities and its research activities can be coordinated into a well-organized routine.
The outline of research should be supervised by the director and the scientific staff, who should be most familiar with the problems associated with the study of tropical botany. The director should assist in the programming of the classroom studies and also the lectures presented to those of the general public who are really interested in plant knowledge. The director should have at least one assistant and a competent secretary who can aid in reducing his administrative duties, so that he is able to devote more time to his main duty, that of being of service to those people who are sincerely interested in learning about plants.
To provide background and context for the planning and design proposed later, the literature review focused on finding answers to the following questions: First, what is a botanic garden? Second, what are the potential roles of botanic gardens? Third, what are the conservation issues through botanic garden functions? And fourth, what are the conservation Design Guidelines for Botanic Gardens?
There are different definitions concerning botanic gardens. According to Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, education and display.
The botanical gardens also known as place that offers green spaces for urban citizen. It contains collection of various plants planted and retained their original natural forms and the plants are recorded, exhibited and studies to learn about their uniqueness (National Landscape Policy, 2011). Botanic gardens are also an excellent tool for independent study. They can inspire new ideas for home gardens or provide people with information about the flora of other countries. Botanic gardens interact with society in other ways as well. The domestic horticulture industry, for instance, obtains specialties for production, and diverse botanical expertise can aid citizens and authorities with plant-related problems. (Hyvärinen 2014). Botanic gardens are a special category of garden, distinctive for their scientific basis, inspirational planting, commitment to plant conservation and involvement in environmental education (Oldfield 2007). Botanical garden is a collection of living plants designed chiefly to illustrate relationships within plant groups. Botanical gardens are museums of living plants that are grouped according to their taxonomy where visitors can learn, endangered and indigenous plant species are conserved and promoted.(Var 2013). Finally, botanic gardens are also places to experience nature’s beauty and to recreate (Mielcarek 2000; Byrd 1989). A botanic gardens work with plants should not be confined to laboratories and herbariums. Plants should be displayed (Wyse Jackson and Sutherland 2000; Byrd 1989) so that people can appreciate the aesthetic qualities of individual plants and of groups of plants (Byrd 1989; Khoshoo 1987).
In summary, a “Botanic Garden” is a complex of multiple uses and programs ranging from collections and scientific research to education to recreation (Byrd 1989; Khoshoo 1987; Wyse Jackson and Sutherland 2000; Evans 1999; Mielcarek 2000).
A botanic (botanical) garden has four key roles – scientific (plant collections), conservation, education and recreation.
Under the scientific role are the Restoration of degraded and endangered ecosystems is emerging as one of the most important priorities for humanity in the 21st century. Many of the aids and resources now commonly conveyed by botanic gardens to support plant conservation are also of fundamental to environmental restoration (sensu the Society for Ecological Restoration International 2004) and the science on which restoration efforts are based. Many of the relatively few remaining natural ecosystems in the world are at immediate risk of further degradation or complete loss, especially those that are vulnerable under current climate-change scenarios (e.g., Mendez ´ et al. 2008). There is little prospect of the outlook improving because world population is likely to continue to expand until at least 2050 (United Nations 2007) and the global economic framework is one that encourages exploitation of natural resources rather than their conservation or sustainable use. In view of these challenges, the latest recommendations on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) recognize that, in some cases, ecosystem restoration may be required to achieve the target of securing at least 15% of each of the world’s ecological regions (Convention on Biological Diversity 2010).
In conservation role, Botanic gardens have collectively acquired centuries of resources and expertise that now means they play a key role in plant conservation. Many of these activities contribute to ex situ conservation, but botanic gardens also play a vital role in situ conservation.
Botanic garden activities that are used for plant conservation: Horticulture and cultivation skills allow us to grow plants that might be lost in nature, which means that species diversity can be conserved in the gardens, but also allows us to consider restoration and rehabilitation of degraded habitats. Living collections of plants collect species under various groupings, to maintain a living store of genetic diversity that can support many activities in conservation and research. Seed banks and collections of living plants allow species to be safeguarded. Plants must be carefully collected stored to ensure maximum genetic diversity is retained, and much research is required to determine the best way of storing each species. This is the conservation of plant diversity with regards to in-situ, and botanic gardens are keys to this strategy’s capacity and success (BGCI). Exploration and development into plant organization and genetics, photochemistry, beneficial properties, informing variety of plants that can bear degraded and changing environments. Education is a strong point of botanic gardens that lets the society to communicate the significance of conserving plants, collaborate to diverse audiences. As well as, connecting plants with the well-being of people, as well as helping preserve indigenous knowledge, to inspire the sustainable use of plant resources for the benefit of all, as part of sustainable development.
Botanic gardens have an obvious and vital role to play in conserving plants but conservation cannot succeed without education. Gardens are uniquely placed to teach people about the importance of plants in our lives and in the global ecosystem. By highlighting the threats that plants and habitats face, gardens can help people look at ways in which biodiversity can be protected (Julia Willison, 1994). Education in botanic gardens should prepare people for the challenges of the coming decades, seriously reviewing today’s mechanisms for development. Agenda 21 (UNESCO 1992) sustains that the only way of ensuring a more prosperous future is by facing up to environmental and development issues in a collaborative, balanced way. This can be done efficiently in botanic gardens by combining environmental education with education for development. According to Huckle (1990), education for the environment involves informing the general public about the various technologies and social organizations that can help people live in harmony with each other and with the natural environment.
A botanic garden offers many opportunities for the public to learn and increase their knowledge of plant geography, ecology and botany. It also offers possibilities for integrating the study of various subjects like botany and geography. A visit to a botanic garden can help the public see clearly the close relationship between plants, climate and soil and understand the processes and factors that have influenced the growth, distribution and spread of plants locally and throughout the world (Yee Sze Onn). Since public education programs became popular in the twentieth century, botanic gardens were, “positioned to take the lead role in public education” (Watson, 1993). A botanic garden is an ideal place for participatory learning because basic ecological principles can be demonstrated in practical horticulture, and has great resources such as “a plant collection, a knowledgeable staff, and physical facilities for accommodating the public” (Peck, 1978).
Botanic gardens have a long and well-established relationship with university educations and were especially important in the development of medical education, beginning in the 1500s. Today, with a shift away from organismal biology, gardens often play a minor or nonexistent role in collegiate education. Ironically, the kinds of skills many employers seek, such as plant identification, are the kinds of skills best taught with living plant and not with preserved classroom material. Visits to Natural areas are important and cannot be replaced by visits to gardens. Never-the-less, gardens offer several advantages over natural areas with respect to teaching. These include accessibility, diversity of collections (including species from around the world), and the ease of repeat visits for review. The respite from frenetic college campuses and the aesthetics of gardens foster an environment conducive to learning and creativity. Spending class time outdoors also is a refreshing change and allows students to ponder the human–nature relationship. ( HYPERLINK “https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bradey_Bennett” Bradey Bennett 2014).
For many teachers, the most important reason for undertaking botanic garden visits is that they offer the opportunity to address topics listed in the science and geography curricula (Jones, 2000). Consequently, often the learning activities organized either by schoolteachers or BGEs are focused on investigating issues, such as plant adaptation, and measuring different temperatures and humidity. However, during the visits, the children should not only obtain scientific and geographic knowledge but also be encouraged to develop their sense of social justice and moral responsibility as well as being taught to understand that their own choices and behavior can affect local, national and global issues (QCA, 2000). Botanic gardens are resources for environmental education in its broadest sense, as various elements of knowledge can be integrated within an excursion, for example: ecological literacy, environmental awareness and environmental sensitivity (Emmons, 1997; Hargreaves, 2005 ; Tal, 2004 ).
Moreover, a botanic garden can serve as the context for making these links and for implementing environmental, global and developmental education, a point illustrated by Jones (2003):”Certainly the children that went to the garden were eager to think about where lots of products were from when they got back to school. They linked material products with plants and places and considered how these places were linked to both their schools and their homes. The other side of the world was seen as intimately linked with their everyday world and the botanical garden offered an exciting, interesting and colourful resource through which these experiences could be engaged with.” (p. 29)
In modern times, most botanical gardens are concerned primarily with exhibiting ornamental plants; insofar as possible in a system that emphasizes natural relationships. Botanical gardens fulfill multiple functions. Of particular interest in this study is their role as public green space and consequently how urban residents use and perceive them. This is necessary as there is a scarcity of work reporting on such from both developed and developing countries (Connell, 2004; Ballantyne et al., 2008). However, use of public green space more generally is highly variable depending upon the attributes of the space, surrounding populations as well as its accessibility (Forsyth, 2003; Grove et al., 2006; Barbosa et al., 2007; Sugiyama and Thompson, 2008).
Linking of the education and recreation dimensions within a public green space paradigm would be useful, but has been little studied. On the one hand, many botanical gardens are not managed by city authorities and so are excluded from broader strategic plans regarding green space provision and use. On the other hand, the growing conservation mandate of botanical gardens (Miller et al., 2003; Pinheiro et al., 2006), means that their role as public green space for recreation and psychological benefits is also underdeveloped. For example, the BGCI constitutes one the largest plant conservation networks by linking botanical gardens worldwide (Wyse Jackson and Sutherland, 2000). It offers botanical gardens a common framework, aids in the creation of new gardens, and supports the further development of established ones (Wyse Jackson and Sutherland, 2000), all within a conservation agenda rather than a public green space one. Yet their potential is clear. Over 600 new botanical gardens have been created worldwide during the past two decades (Chang et al., 2008). It is estimated that some 250 million people globally visit botanical gardens every year (Ballantyne et al., 2008; Chang et al., 2008). Users of public green space are attracted to attributes such as the diversity of natural scenes, functions, activities, flora and fauna, safety, accessibility and the overall aesthetic quality of urban green space (Burgess et al., 1988; Forsyth, 2003; Chiesura, 2004). The appreciation of nature and aesthetics are highly regarded amongst the garden users surveyed in the six NBGs, and Chiesura (2004) reflected similar results in a study assessing the role of urban parks. The gardens also provided an escape for urban residents to engage in recreational activities as, in general, natural settings provide restorative experiences for users (Chiesura, 2004; Pedretti and Soren, 2006).
Currently, botanical gardens are poised to do more than they already do. However, many would argue botanical gardens do plenty for the environment and the general public. Gardens become comfortable with their status as environmental stewards but are often confined to certain locations and ways of operation. This may imply the general perception of botanical gardens as completely separate from other green spaces.
The impacts that humans are having on the earth’s biological diversity and resources and on its climate, have led many to recognize that we are living in a new age, commonly known as the Anthropocene, although interpretations of its nature vary (Davies, 2016). According to Charles H. Cannon, Botanic gardens will lead the way to create a “Garden Earth” in the Anthropocene era. One of its manifestations is that biodiversity continues to be lost at all levels, despite the worldwide mobilization of resources for its conservation on an unprecedented scale. The five principal pressures directly driving biodiversity loss (habitat loss and change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) are either constant or even increasing in intensity. In response, major advances conservation policy, planning and action have been made in recent decades and the role of established approaches such as protected areas, ex situ and in situ conservation have been the subject of major reassessments, while increasing emphasis is being given to ecological restoration and reintroductions, and massive reforestation programs, in an attempt to address the consequences of habitat destruction and loss of species and seek the creation of a ‘Garden Earth’. But still biodiversity continues to drain away.
To remain planetary stewards’ gardens must find new ways to reach out and help solve current environmental problems. Excessive population has caused sewage and pollution problems contaminating groundwater and affecting many of our watersheds. Also the space is very limiting in the urban environments and may not be conducive for the average botanical garden. Therefore a much needed look into the alternatives for implementing such aspects and activities that these gardens require is very important. New botanic gardens are being established throughout the world mainly to become botanical resource centers supporting native plant conservation (Wyse, 2000)”. Botanical garden in large cities however, can provide insights to ecological changes providing new opportunities for botanical gardens to rediscover new applications in conservation and preservation (Wyse, 2000).” This can be accomplished by trying new ways to address conservation related issues such as storm water management, invasive species, and urban pollution through the implementation of botanical garden functions in the common urban setting. While still focusing on the core framework, botanical gardens can still use research, education and horticulture through the use of new designs and solutions. Botanical gardens for a long time have become an attraction for the community by providing beautiful displays and events. Furthermore, botanical gardens have been facing issues with funding, making it difficult to expand operations. With many gardens’ government funding is being reallocated or completely stripped. Operational cost and funding directly impact maintaining the garden and the high quality of standards that botanical gardens are expected to have. The continued interest in providing adequate funding for botanical gardens helps address other issues such as invasive species, storm water management, clean up and educational programs. Botanical gardens now have to supplement activities and programs to make up for lack of funds. Other problems botanical gardens are facing are issues of accessibility. Some gardens are off the main road and the community may not even be aware of the hidden treasure behind the gates. Botanical gardens may have to look at other options to position themselves to a wide audience (Matheson, 2011). The need to appeal to a wider audience is becoming a bigger issue with botanical gardens than previously thought. Successful botanical gardens in current economic hardship have stood out to a wide variety of people, and this may be in large part due to location. The problem with expanding partnerships is that though they often work together on education and marketing, other areas such as urban conservation are not approached in similar ways (Medbury, 2011). This would directly affect educational programs and funding. Without these issues addressed, botanical gardens may suffer even more as economic problems linger. Current research begins to shed more light on how botanical gardens are used and what impacts they have on the environment.
Peter Kumble developed conservation design guidelines for botanic gardens focused on conservation. Botanical garden should Develop a Specific Mission Statement for the Garden carefully spelling out what conservation activities the garden will pursue, and make all design decisions in support of the mission. And also, allow the site’s context and physical features to guide planning and design decisions. The selection of site is vital; site should include or is near native habitat. Where this is not possible, select a site where such habitat could be easily restored. Preserve as much existing native vegetation as possible and make these areas/stands/remnants the planning and organizational foundation, or core, of the garden. In presenting Native Plants in Man-made Landscapes, Showcase native plants in man-made landscapes to show off their utility and ornamental qualities. Specifically, provide display areas that show how native plants can be used in commercial, residential, and public landscapes to replace more traditional exotics. Demonstrate culturally appropriate ways to integrate healthy native plant communities with larger scale development. Demonstrate a commitment to conservation by using sustainable design principles in all facilities and infrastructure and by following sustainable operational practices. When it comes to educational components, integrate a conservation storyline into the overall plan and design of the garden. Relate the garden’s message to visitor’s everyday lives so that they take something with them when they leave. Minimize distances between people and plants to maximize sensory experiences and interaction.
In summary, the primary agenda of the project is Environment, Education and Leisure. However, the researcher also wanted to address other fields where this project will be utilized. Economics is a sub-agenda of the project. In the recent years, Homapon is a rural landscape that is 7.9 km away from the center of Albay. Building a Botanic garden in the vicinity of Homapon will boost economics in a way that its people will be provided with a new venue for commercial spaces and new demographic of visitors. Rather than just tourist visiting this location, academics will also flock with the construction of a place designed for learning. With the influx of new visitors, a new need may arise thus providing another opportunity for business. Tourism will also be boosted due to the arrival of more people. Homapon will be a place to retreat from the city. With the presence of a Botanic garden unique to any part of the Region, people will have a reason to visit Homapon. In perspective, people visiting the Botanic garden won’t just be in Homapon to learn from this nature visit. People will surely take advantage of the opportunity to go to other attraction Bicol has to offer.