Life on Earth depends directly or indirectly on plants. They play a crucial role in oxygen production and the quality of the air we breathe. Plants are at the bottom of the food chain and constitute a source of materials (fibres and other compounds) whose uses are multiple and essential to human activity.
This is why it is so vital to know more about their evolution, diversity, physiological function and ecological dynamics within their ecosystem. Botanical gardens are in an advantageous position to study and contribute to our understanding of the plant world because they conserve and cultivate a wide variety of plants. Indeed, all of the world’s major botanical gardens devote part of their human and financial resources to research activities for the advancement of knowledge.
At the Montréal Botanical Garden, scientific research contributes significantly to the institution’s national and international growth.
Since it was founded in 1931, the Montréal Botanical Garden has developed with due respect for the scientific approach, which has led to its recognition internationally. The scientific and research development division oversees the institution’s scientific dimension, which includes managing plant collections, leading research activities and managing its reference centres, the library and media library.
Managing plant collections
Our plant collections, which include an estimated 21,000 species and cultivars, are managed meticulously, in accordance with a collection management policy, using a digital indexing and inventory system. This allows us to monitor the evolution and history of each specimen in the Garden, while facilitating identification and discussion. New specimens are acquired and new collections are developed while reconciling the Botanical Garden’s scientific objectives with its educational and cultural objectives.
Various research projects are conducted by the Botanical Garden’s team of botanists. The themes of these projects correspond to the Botanical Garden’s areas of interest and involve the development of plants and their physiology or issues related to the design or ecology of urban parks. These research projects help to broaden our knowledge in botany and horticulture and contribute to the Garden’s growth internationally. The majority of research activities are funded by organizations external to the city administration.