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Partnership for conservation in the Pacific region

RBG Kew and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community sign an agreement to conduct joint plant conservation activities in the Pacific region.

Photo of Santalum yasi

On 17 April 2014 the Director of Science of RBG Kew and the Deputy Director General of The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) signed a 10-year agreement to work together in supporting and implementing plant conservation activities in the Pacific region.

With members from 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories and four original founding countries, SPC is an international organisation that supports sustainable development in the Pacific region according to its vision ‘to help Pacific Island people position themselves to respond effectively to the challenges they face and make informed decisions about their future and the future they leave for the generations that follow’.

Within the framework of this agreement, RBG Kew is starting a technical cooperation with SPC’s Pacific Island Tree Seed Centre (PITSC) to conduct seed conservation activities in Fiji. SPC created this centre in 2012 to act as a regional focal point for coordination and implementation of priority germplasm collection, storage, distribution, research and training. In Fiji, SPC works closely with the Forestry Department, the Department of Environment and the University of the South Pacific.

Fiji is part of the Polynesia-Micronesia biodiversity hotspot, one of 34 global Biodiversity Hotspots (Mittermeier et al., 1999; 'Conservation International', 2014) with exceptional level of plant endemism and serious level of habitat loss. For example, tropical dry forests in Fiji are among the most threatened ecosystems on a global scale (Keppel & Tuiwawa, 2007).

This new partnership is part of the Pacific Programme of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, which aims to contribute to achieve Target 1 of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (store 25% of the global flora ie 75,000 species) and Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2010 to 2020 (75% of threatened species in ex situ collections) and to support plant conservation in the Pacific region.

Item from Dr Peter Giovannini (International Projects Officer, Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, RBG Kew)

References

  • Conservation International (2014). Accessed February 4. Available online
  • Keppel, G. & Tuiwawa, M.V. (2007). 'Dry Zone Forests of Fiji: Species Composition, Life History Traits, and Conservation.' New Zealand Journal of Botany 45 (4): 545–63.
  • Mittermeier, R. A., Myers, N., Mittermeier, C.G. & Gil, P.R. (1999). Hotspots: Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions. CEMEX, SA, Agrupación Sierra Madre, SC. Available online

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