Conservation and climate change news
Plants have an essential role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change, because they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Conversely, if forests are destroyed by burning, then carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere. Deforestation accounts for about one fifth of the world’s carbon emissions.
However, plants are threatened by environmental changes including climate change. Conserving plants is therefore critical to any sustainable solution to environmental change.
Tanzania has a vast wealth of plant diversity and includes species with a global market appeal such as the African Violet (Saintpaulia spp.). Like the disappearing glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania's plant wealth is under threat from land clearance, a rapidly expanding population and climate change. We are working with our partners in Tanzania to help develop their capacity to save this plant life.
Plant species around the world are becoming extinct more than ever before and at an increasing rate. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership in South Africa is working to safeguard valuable plant species that are at risk. The seeds being collected will provide an insurance against losing precious species in the wild.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is carrying out vital work in Namibia to save plant life under threat and habitats at risk. Namibia has an extremely dry climate which poses a challenge to plant survival. Collecting and storing seeds in Namibia will help to prevent plant loss in the wild and secure plant diversity for the future.
In many African countries such as Mali, plants play a vital role in helping human populations survive. Drought and overexploitation often lead to a shortage of plants that are most useful to man. By identifying and conserving seeds from such plants we can ensure against their loss in the wild and restore the dwindling habitats.
Vital work is being carried out by Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership to halt the loss of plant diversity in some of the most precious drylands of Mexico. These regions suffer from drought and are threatened by changes in both climate and land usage.
Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island but seems to have a whole continent's worth of plant diversity on it. However, habitat loss and overexploitation are posing serious threats to this unique island. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is saving seeds for both future security of the species and also for immediate land rehabilitation.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is carrying out conservation work in Malawi to save threatened plant life. Collecting and storing seeds in Malawi will help to prevent plant loss in the wild and secure plant diversity for the future.
Many populations, particularly in Africa continue to have a strong dependancy on plants for food, medicine and a host of other uses. Working with farmers groups, community-led nurseries and government agencies, the Millennium Seed Bank has been working in Kenya to collect, conserve and use seed from a wide range of "useful" and threatened species.
Population pressure, urbanisation and the aftermath of the civil war are the main threats to biodiversity in Lebanon. Collecting and storing seeds of plant species that are at risk provides insurance against the loss of these endangered plants in the wild.
Threats to plant survival in Jordan include drought, agriculture, and the rapid increase of the population. The partnership is working hard to protect the spectacular and wide range of plant species which human populations depend on.
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St Helena olive
Before St Helena olive became extinct, a sample of its genetic material (DNA) was collected for storage in Kew’s DNA bank, where it is still available for research.