Kew statement on outcomes of Maputo meeting
Press release, 29 June 2009
Jonathan Timberlake, RBG Kew botanist and Scientific Coordinator of the South-east Africa Montane Biodiversity project said: "The recent workshop in Maputo is very good news for the protection of the mountains of northern Mozambique , and other areas of high biodiversity value such as coastal forests.
"The Minister of Science and Technology, Venancio Massingue, has invited our Mozambican partner in the project, IIAM, to develop and lead a conservation strategy for these mountains and the country's coastal forests so that they receive greater recognition and protection.
"Kew and IIAM have also been invited to participate in and influence discussions on conservation policy and structures in Mozambique at a national level - which is more than we ever hoped for or thought possible at the beginnings of the project.
"We are thrilled that our work has highlighted that important and spectacular biodiversity can include plants, small animals and insects, as well as the more obvious larger animals.
"Our exploration of these mountains has also illustrated just why biodiversity survey work remains a very important conservation tool and the positive impact of international cooperation among scientists. The role of botanists and zoologists at institutions such as herbaria and natural history museums is too often unrecognised, but is vital in informing conservation decisions and activities.
"In the future we hope to expand Kew 's Millennium Seed Bank partnership to Mozambique ."
- Partners in the 'Monitoring and Managing Biodiversity Loss in South-East Africa's Montane Ecosystems' project are the Mozambique Agrarian Research Institute (IIAM), the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust and the Forest Research Institute of Malawi in Malawi and BirdLife International.
- This project has been funded by Defra's Darwin Initiative - which draws on the wealth of biodiversity expertise within the UK to help protect and enhance biodiversity around the world. Since its launch in 1992, the Darwin Initiative has committed over £73million to nearly 650 projects in 149 countries.
- Further details on the Darwin Initiative can be found at http://www.darwin.gov.uk/
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction and its 132 hectares of landscaped gardens and its country garden, Wakehurst Place , attract nearly two million visitors every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2009.
Wakehurst Place is also home to Kew 's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. By 2010, RBG Kew and its partners will have collected and conserved seed from 10 per cent of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). The aim is to conserve 25% by 2020 and funds are being actively sought in order to continue to develop this vital work.
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