The Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens of the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität developed from a formal renaissance garden. They are now among the most beautiful and prestigious botanic gardens in Germany. Some 11,000 plant species, that is several times the number of species occurring naturally in Germany, are cultivated on its 13 hectares.
Research and teaching are the main tasks of the gardens; most importantly, they serve to disseminate their information to an increasingly ecoconscious public. Words like ‘ecology’ and ‘biodiversity’ became political catchphrases. It is now estimated that there are around 30 million different species of plants and animals in the world, of which just under 1.7 million are known and have been classified scientifically. The remaining 95% will stay unknown to us – the destruction of their habitats (especially tropical rain forests) is progressing too fast to allow us to catalogue their inventory.
Around one third of the 300,000 known plant species are currently cultivated in botanic gardens throughout the world, 50,000 of these in Germany. All in all there are some 100 german botanic gardens and they attract more than 14 million visitors per year. This represents a significant potential to raise public awareness for research on the diversity and ecology of plants which is so urgently necessary. These tasks, among others, are what modern gardens set out to fulfil, so it is great to see that in recent years, Bonn Botanic Gardens received substantial support from the University, the State of Northrhine-Westphalia, the Friends of the Botanic Gardens and the University Association – this enables us to better fulfil our tasks and keep students as well as the general public better informed.