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Sharing our expertise

As part of its commitment to meeting the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), Kew works with partners around the world to develop regional training courses covering many different aspects of plant conservation.


Field training in Montserrat
Field training in Montserrat
The training we deliver is tailored to address the needs of the region or country in which they are delivered. Our courses are focussed on delivering solutions to local issues and bring together people who are likely to encounter similar problems, so that they can share ideas and experiences.
The courses also provide a forum for the development of new regional networks. For each regional training activity, Kew collaborates with a host institution. Each course can address many of the GSPC targets by covering a range of activities from herbarium techniques to engaging the public.

A global approach to plant conservation

Kew's international programme is based on providing practical training to support partners working in the botany, plant conservation and sustainable development so they can conserve plant diversity. This work is known as capacity building.

What is capacity building?

Capacity building is a blanket term to cover learning new skills and techniques, sharing experiences and helping to improve facilities and information transfer. With the ever-increasing threats to the world's vegetation from habitat loss, invasive species and climate change, the shortage of global capacity needed to solve the biodiversity crisis has become critical.

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Students on a field trip in the countryside
Students learn conservation techniques on field trips.
Why is increased capacity for conservation needed?

Plants offer potential long-term, sustainable solutions to environmental and human problems, but a global shortage of trained biodiversity and conservation specialists is compromising action to conserve them. This lack of capacity is recognised in the Millennium Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and must be addressed if international conservation and development targets are to be met.

A better understanding of the components of biodiversity is essential for supporting effective decisions about conservation and sustainable use priorities. Specialists also need appropriate resources for their work, ranging from field guides and vegetation maps to research facilities.

Kew's capacity building activities

Kew builds conservation capacity through partnership and collaboration, founded upon education, training and skill-sharing in our areas of expertise - plant diversity, science, collections, conservation, environmental sustainability, horticulture and education. The goal is to transfer the knowledge and expertise that will enable people and organisations to respond to botanical, horticultural and plant conservation challenges. Kew's work is enriched by this exchange.

Read about Kew's capacity building activities in Growing expertise for plant conservation

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank

Kew has more than 40 years experience in seed conservation. Through the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP) we share our knowledge and experience with others, from school children to the global science community and leading policy makers. We aim to increase awareness of the importance of plants for life.

Helping our partners save seeds for the future

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank has established a global network of partners and projects committed to saving plants world wide. We support our partners and help them develop the technical infrastructure needed to conserve seeds. We focus on saving seeds from plants identified as being at risk of extinction.


Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst
Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst

Sharing knowledge and technical support

We ensure that our partners have the skills, facilities and knowledge needed to successfully conserve seeds and meet critical global seed conservation targets. We also work with younger budding seed collectors, to raise awareness of the importance of seed conservation.

The MSBP provides a range of professional training to suit the needs of partners and collaborators. We teach the scientific processes required to save seeds effectively, as well as new and improved seed conservation techniques to help seed collectors, seed bank staff and those working in seed research. We also give advice to other seed banks on the equipment and facilities needed for successful seed conservation.

As part of work we share data, information and knowledge generated from our seed science and continuing research with a worldwide audience. Outside the relatively narrow field of seed conservation, most of the information we share is relevant to the wider sphere of seed biology - including physiology, biochemistry, ecology, morphology - and botany in general. Users of our various information products regard us as a 'one-stop-shop' for seed biology information.