University of Puerto Rico Botanical Garden
The master plan for the physical and programmatic development of the Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico focuses on providing an attractive site for both researchers and the general public. The goal is to enhance its research, ecologic, tourist, and cultural splendor. The development plan includes large scale improvements such as the canalization of the Rio Piedras river to provide access for research and other endeavors; the connection between the north and south sides of the Garden, as well as new physical structures and amenities. This will be performed preserving the green space that the Garden provides to the metropolitan area.
Currently, over 60 research projects are conducted in the Botanical Garden by investigators associated with the Agricultural Experimental Station of the Mayaguez Campus. In addition, investigators from the Department of Biology at the R’o Piedras Campus also carry out research in the fields of botany, ecology, horticulture, and agronomy, among others.
The botanical garden houses a herbarium containing over 37,000 specimens from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Other facilities include an Entomology and Tropical Diversity Museum, which maintains a collection of approximately 250,000 insects many dating from 1910 and several analytical laboratories to study the chemistry of soils, water and viruses, as well as the plagues that attack our local flora. A new Pavilion for the Experimental Garden in Medicinal and Poisonous Plants at the South Botanical Garden is scheduled to be inaugurated in September, 2008.
The model of the master plan for the physical and programmatic development of the Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico was selected as one of the pieces included in the exhibit of the National Design Trienal 2006: Design New Life at the Copper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
In April 2007, the University of Puerto Rico and the New York Botanical Garden signed an agreement to establish technical, scientific, cultural, and educational cooperation between the two institutions with respect to Caribbean biodiversity research, training, and conservation. The agreement encourages the participation of both institutions in joint projects and programs related to botanical themes and research.