Over the more than 40 years since it was established, NTBG’s herbarium, library, and living collections have been indispensable to its scientific research and conservation programs. The resources that these collections provide, not only to researchers and students in Hawai‘i, but also worldwide, are incomparable. The immediate proximity of comprehensive living collections of tropical flora to an extensive herbarium and an extraordinary botanical library is rare.
The NTBG Herbarium contains the most extensive recent collection of Hawaiian and Marquesan plants in existence, with over 66,000 specimens. The library is the largest botanical/horticultural collection in Hawai‘i, with more than 44,000 books, prints, and images.
The Botanical Research Center at NTBG’s national headquarters on Kaua`i, completed in early 2008, brings together the herbarium and library under a single roof. The Center includes research laboratories and offices, a dirty room for processing and drying new plant specimens, and dedicated work space for staff, students, and visiting researchers.
To protect the invaluable herbarium and library collections, the building is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. It was built to accommodate 50 years of planned growth of the collections. Mechanical and electrical systems provide multiple levels for backup operation during an emergency.
Consistent with NTBG’s commitment to conservation and the environment, the building was designed to be environmentally sustainable. The project was registered with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, with initial anticipation of LEED silver certification.
News, dateline January 5, 2009: The Botanical Research Center was awarded LEED® Gold Certification, making it the first building on the island of Kaua‘i recognized under the rating system.
Some examples of sustainable construction practices used were sending minimal construction waste into the landfill and filling around water and electrial pipes with crushed recycled glass. Examples of sustainability and environmental-friendly design include photovoltaic panels, a roof rainwater catchment system, and the use of certified sustainable reclaimed tropical hardwoods.
The Botanical Research Center now serves not only as a resource for national and international researchers, but also as a significant resource for Hawai‘i and the local community. Through NTBG’s education and outreach programs local students will be able to learn firsthand about tropical botany, horticulture, and ethnobotany, as well as the importance of traditional knowledge and natural and cultural resource management.
Data as of August 2011
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