Secretary General (CEO)
Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Dr Paul Smith is the Secretary General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). BGCI is the largest plant conservation network in the world, comprising 650 member institutions in 100 countries. BGCI leads the Global Tree Assessment, and recently published the State of the World’s Trees Report showing that one third of the world’s 60,000 tree species are threatened with extinction. With a career spanning 30 years in conservation, Paul joined BGCI as Secretary General in March 2015. During his time at BGCI, the organisation has launched a global botanic garden accreditation scheme, published two new global databases (ThreatSearch and GlobalTreeSearch), grown its membership by >70%, has opened new regional offices in Kenya and Singapore, and its International Advisory Council has established itself as the senior voice of the global botanic garden community. Prior to joining BGCI, Paul was Head of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB). During his nine years at the helm there, seeds from >25,000 plant species were conserved in the MSB and, in 2009, the MSB achieved its first significant milestone, securing seed from 10% of the world’s plant species, prioritising rare, threatened and useful plants. Paul trained as a plant ecologist, and is a specialist in the plants and vegetation of southern Africa. He is a Trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Chairman of England’s Arboreta Advisory Committee and is the recipient of the New England Wildflower Society’s Medal for Services to International Plant Conservation and the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration.