News from the gardening world
Botanical refuges are key to conserving the world’s flora
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
Cambridge Botanic Garden – playing an important conservation role