Following on from the previous post about cut backs to funding for Seed Banks in Australia which was discussed at the recent 2010 Crawford Conference in Canberra is this post you can read an overview of one of the Conference's Key speakers - Stephen D. Hopper, Head of Kew Gardens in the UK. Below are several key points from the powerpoint presentation he gave at the conference.
Plant diversity at the turning
Stephen D. Hopper
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey UK
Unprecedented importance of plant diversity, and yet …?
• ABC of first aid. Plant diversity helps us:
- seek shelter and maintain health
- consume water and food
- manipulate our habitat for positive individual and social benefit by
clearing space, creating shelter, growing and gardening plants,
- mitigate and adapt to global change
• And yet we are ambivalent – we create and destroy, socialise and
alienate, love and hate, celebrate and mourn, revere and denigrate,
imagine and turn off, explore and fear the unknown, tell the truth and
lie, collaborate and cheat, help and ignore, hypothesize but do not
seek evidence, resist change and rise to challenge
An extinction crisis is looming,
fuelled by land use conflict
• 12 crops provide 80% of
the plant food consumed
• Yet 30,000 species are
known to be edible
• We continue to bulldoze
and burn marginal lands
to grow mainstream
crops, destroying the
plant diversity that may
be part of our salvation in
a rapidly changing world
Plant diversity underpins human
lives and livelihoods, from
the air we breathe to sheer
wonderment –yet the world
continues to destroy wild
plants at an alarming rate.
We are at a turning point for plant
diversity, of unprecedented
importance to people in a
rapidly changing world.
We face a steep learning curve.
Targeted plant diversity science,
in botanic gardens and
elsewhere, offers solutions to
global problems and an
important message of hope.
We can feed the world through
sustainable use of
biodiversity –but will we?
Use Kew's interactive map to explore the state of the world's plant life and find out more about plants at risk.
- See an overview of the state of plant life world wide.
- Find out more about where plants are at risk.
- See global hotspots where plant life is unique to specific regions.
- See the level of confidence we have in the data for each country.