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Meise Botanical Gardens opens Green Ark, a new haven for endangered plants

Meise Botanic Gardens - Green Ark
16:23 28/05/2024

Meise Botanic Garden has inaugurated the Green Ark, a huge greenhouse complex that protects endangered plant species from around the world.

This new infrastructure was unveiled on International Biodiversity Day on 22 May. In a press statement, the botanic gardens underlined the urgency of conservation for endangered plants.

It has also opened a seed bank as “an invaluable genetic resource for selecting cultivated plants that are resistant to diseases and climate change”.

Located on the outskirts of Brussels in Flemish Brabant, the site is a popular tourist attraction as well as an international reference point for horticultural science.

Work on the €18.6m project started in 2019 as part of a major overhaul of the site, that is now owned by the Flemish government.

The vast 7,600m² greenhouse complex nurtures more than 10,000 plant species for future generations. Among the varying-sized 22 high-tech greenhouses, there are four different temperature regimes to house plants from humid and dry climate zones. 

collecties Groene Ark_4

“These new greenhouses, which we consider to be the real beating heart of our frost-sensitive plant collections, have all the space and techniques needed to optimally manage a living plant collection,” explained Marc Reynders, scientific manager of the greenhouse collections.

“Moreover, rainwater harvesting and the use of shade and thermal screens make the Green Ark an energy-efficient infrastructure, as envisaged in the Botanic Garden's Energetic Master Plan,” he added.

The new greenhouse complex includes a pavilion for visitors, for a close-up view of the plants. They can also learn more about the garden's conservation projects, threats to plant species around the world and ways get involved in biodiversity conservation.

Shaped like a hyperbolic paraboloid, the pavilion's unusual architecture is also marketed as an attractive space for outside companies to hold MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events) activities.

Photos: ©Meise Botanic Garden


Written by The Bulletin