The Re-imagining Trinity College Botanic Garden project is a 10-year renovation strategy to ensure a strong legacy for TCBG into the future. The project will set the start of the garden long-term environmental monitoring program, linking its activities with the Botany Department in Trinity College Dublin.

The project will focus on gathering data of key tree species – selected for their botanical, ecological, and cultural value – assessing their physiological response to rising CO2 and pollution.

Botanic gardens are known for hosting documented collections of living plants representing unique subsets of diverse taxa and historical biogeographies that allowed for substantial contributions to scientific research and ex-situ conservation. Being often located in urban environments, they also serve as points for outreach and access to nature;  they can provide facilities for connecting people directly to global plant research and conservation efforts, at the same time offering a place beneficial for human health and wellbeing. Despite Botanic Gardens’ contributions being largely assessed over different fields, they are still underutilized resources for climate change research, especially concerning the scope of long term ecological and environmental monitoring. As part of its 10-year strategy, Trinity College Botanic Garden (TCBG) aims to address some of this underutilisation by establishing a long-term monitoring program to track climate change and atmospheric pollution responses in its living woody plant collection. Complementary to this, garden trails and outreach materials will be developed, to foster TCBG educational profile on climate change research. Within this framework, this project aims to provide year one baseline data for TCBG long-term  (>10  years) monitoring program by:

  1. conducting a structured review of published long-term monitoring projects held in botanic gardens and arboreta globally, to identify gaps and opportunities and inform the TCBG strategy;
  2. selecting circa 20 key tree species as monitoring subjects, for their ecological, botanical, and cultural value;
  3. monitoring the effects of rising atmospheric CO2 and particulate pollution (PM10 and PM2.5) on key plant performances.

Importantly, the project will also design a transferable protocol, with production of herbarium specimens for future-proof research, adoption of best practices in reproducible research, and supporting the garden outreach strategy, so as to nurture its link with both Trinity College and local communities, and ensure the garden’s legacy into the future.

Midori Yajima (seoncd left) at work with TCBG Staff at the Garden.