News from the gar­den­ing world

Botan­i­cal refuges are key to con­serv­ing the world’s flora

Garden News (UK) - - News - Words Ian Hodgson

More than 30 per cent of the world’s plants are held in botanic gardens around the world, a com­pre­hen­sive new study has found. Cam­bridge sci­en­tists and botanists from the city’s Botanic Gar­den an­a­lysed a data­base of the 350,699 known plant species, com­par­ing it with lists of plants grow­ing in 1,116 in­sti­tu­tions around the globe, all mem­bers of Kew­based or­gan­i­sa­tion Botanic Gardens Con­ser­va­tion In­ter­na­tional (BGCI).

The team dis­cov­ered the fig­ure in­cluded 41 per cent of plants classed as ‘threat­ened’ in the wild, cov­er­ing al­most two thirds of plant gen­era and more than 90 per cent of plant fam­i­lies, but with an im­bal­ance. Although 60 per cent of tem­per­ate or cool cli­mate species are held in gardens in the north­ern hemi­sphere, only 25 per cent of trop­i­cal species are con­served.

“An es­ti­mated one fifth of plant di­ver­sity is un­der threat,” said Cam­bridge Botanic Gar­den cu­ra­tor and lead au­thor Dr Sam Brock­ing­ton. “Yet, there’s no tech­ni­cal rea­son why any plant species should be­come ex­tinct. If we don’t con­serve our plant di­ver­sity, hu­man­ity will strug­gle to solve global chal­lenges of food and fuel, en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and cli­mate change.”

Trop­i­cal re­serves, such as Sin­ga­pore’s Gardens by the Bay, are cru­cial

Sh u er st oc k

Cam­bridge Botanic Gar­den – play­ing an im­por­tant con­ser­va­tion role

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