Prairie and Northern Plant Diversity Centre
The Prairie and Northern Plant Diversity Centre (PNPDC) was launched by the Devonian Botanic Garden to promote and facilitate the sustainable management of plant diversity. This will be achieved through research, education, information services, and conservation activities.
Plant diversity is rapidly being lost in many parts of the world, including western Canada. There are four levels of plant diversity: landscape, community, population, and genetic. The Prairie and Northern Plant Diversity Centre hopes to focus on increasing knowledge about the genetic and species population levels. The researchers at the Centre will also investigate plant community types and work toward developing a predictive plant diversity model at the landscape level.
In 1993, concern about biodiversity led to the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The idea of biodiversity encompasses the concepts of genetic diversity, ecosystem diversity, and the conservation of rare and endangered species.
All too frequently, by the time species have been targeted as being at high risk of extinction, their numbers and diversity have become so depleted that their recovery is often impossible. The Prairie and Northern Plant Diversity Centre hopes to develop methods to identify declining species before they become severely at risk.
One of PNPDC's activities is development of a seed bank of native species. This will help provide long-term security of genetic and species diversity for local plants. The seeds will be used in revegetation and reclamation work, as well as in research investigations.
The Centre is also working toward developing a comprehensive information system that focuses on both rare and common native plants of Alberta. There will be information on geographic distribution, species biology, and conservation status. The information system will be available on the Internet. Courses on plant diversity will be offered through the Prairie and Northern Plant Diversity Centre (PNPDC).
PNPDC is a regional centre for the prairie provinces and the Northwest Territories. The Centre also has links to the Association for Biodiversity Information-Canada, the Canadian Botanical Garden Network, and the Canadian Botanical Conservation Network. The work done at PNPDC is also an important part of Canada's commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity which is outlined in the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.
To find out more about the Prairie and Northern Plant Diversity Centre, please visit its website.