May 2016 has ended with two fundamental happenings, both in their own way giving us an opportunity to reflect on the value of botanic gardens around the world.
Beginning with the launch of the first annual State of the World’s Plants report published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. This is a fascinating project highlighting and describing the diversity, uniqueness and fragility of the world’s natural plant populations. It details some of the work undertaken to try and preserve the world’s plant diversity, showcasing the continued new plant discoveries, their usefulness to human kind and their increasingly threatened status in the modern world. Equally it also highlights some of the efforts being implemented through diplomacy on a global scale to ensure the appropriate management of the potential threats.
It provides some fascinating data and thought provoking detail that opens up many very difficult questions concerning the management of species worldwide. The questions need answers through continued specialised scientific work and management; this in turn needs continued honest, realistic and effective support by governments throughout the world.
It is truly amazing to think that so many new species of unique plants are still consistently being discovered around the world each year, and that so many tens of thousands of these have some potential importance to human kind. An example highlighted by the report is the newly discovered carnivorous plant Drosera magnifica from Brazil (Image on right), unknown to science before a picture of it was posted on an orchid collectors Facebook site, this was later seen by a plant researcher who realised it was a unique species. It is huge, growing to a height of up to 1.5 meters.
The frightening thing is that who knows how many undiscovered plants we have already lost and how many existing ones are now severely threatened. All species do matter!
Download the entire report:https://stateoftheworldsplants.com/report/sotwp_2016.pdf and also check out the interactive website: https://stateoftheworldsplants.com/