Who or what is the botanika?

botanika - Bremen's great world of discovery is the name of a nature experience center in the Rhododendron Park Bremen

In the middle of this park, the Green Science Center was opened in 2003. In naturalistic greenhouses, you can discover the great variety of tropical and subtropical rhododendrons and their accompanying flora, and especially the cultures of the people who live there. In addition to the greenhouses, there is also an interactive discovery center. Here the focus is on in-depth knowledge of the importance of biodiversity.

The idea or the concept of botaníka was developed in 1997. At that time, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was only four years old.

This agreement is the most important multilateral treaty for the protection of biodiversity on earth and has so far been signed by all the states of our planet. Well, by almost all of them. Andorra, Iraq, Somalia and the USA (!) are not yet part of it.

One of the goals of this convention is to explain its contents to the population as attractively as possible. And so the idea was born in Bremen to present the world's highly diverse biodiversity in an appealing, stimulating and understandable way, using the example of the extremely diverse plant genus "Rhododendron". This is because Bremen has the world's second largest collection of this extremely diverse plant genus.

The botanika was the first of its kind at the time and was financially supported by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. It is now run as a municipal non-profit limited company.
(For those in a hurry, here is the link to the Buddhist elements in the botanika).

And these are the three most important goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity/CBD:

Conservation of biological diversity

This is about preserving biodiversity, genetic diversity and, of course, the various habitats. In other words: real nature conservation, not a labeling scam to enable people to have a nice vacation, for example. 

Susainable Use

Humans are allowed to use all elements of biological diversity, but only to the extent that they are not endangered. As in the forest: only cut down as much as can grow back. And keep in mind that, for example, oaks are only fully grown after 400 years! This means very strict restrictions for very many plants and animals.

Access and Benefit Sharing

All elements of biological diversity that are not found at home may only be used if the people from whose countries something is to be taken receive fair compensation. So no colonialism, no biopiracy, especially with tropical plants and medicines.

How is this implemented in the botanika?

The three goals of the Biodiversity Convention are presented and realized in the botanika as follows:

Conservation of biological diversity

Typical landscapes with their habitats are recreated in two show greenhouses: the subtropical southwestern slopes of the Himalayas and the tropical forests of Borneo and New Guinea. These areas are home to numerous rhododendron species, which can be experienced here with their typical companion plants. Some of these species are already extinct in their native countries.
Here you can discover flowering plants all year round, but especially in early spring.

Sustainable benefits of biodiversity

Rhododendron species should remain in their habitats, but we may use the cultivated rhododendron varieties, which include azaleas. To show this, a Japanese garden was created for the cultivated azaleas, the highest form of garden culture. A stark contrast to the "wild nature" in the Himalayan and Borneo-New Guinea areas. These rhododendrons or azaleas can be bought without hesitation, for example, in nurseries, they are not taken from nature.

Access and Fair benefit sharing

If mankind needs biological components in order to use them economically, the countries of origin should share in the economic returns. In order to make this demand of the CBD clear to botanika visitors, ethnic, authentic elements have been incorporated into the show houses, especially those that have cultural and religious significance, in order to illustrate the aspect of the interaction between people and nature. In this way, the peoples living in each area are included.