At the 21st World Orchid Conference (WOC) in Johannesburg (10–14 September 2014), Kew scientists Mark Chase and Alec Pridgeon were awarded Fellowships (and Gold Medals) of the Orchid Society of South East Asia (OSSEA). The awards were largely in recognition of their role in editing Genera Orchidacearum, of which Volume 6 covered many taxa that are well represented in South East Asia.
A team of Kew scientists have assessed the extinction risk of the palm species of Madagascar using the latest Red List categories and criteria defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their results, published in PLoS ONE, indicate that over 80% of the 195 palm species (of which 192 are endemic) are threatened. This proportion of threatened species exceeds all other plant groups in Madagascar for which comprehensive evaluations are available and it is nearly four times that estimated for plants globally.
We heard this morning that the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is due to make an announcement today (3.30pm) in a speech at the RSPB’s State of Nature conference that he has secured additional funding of £1.5M for Kew for the current financial year.
Nick Clegg’s speech will be published in full in due course, but in the meantime this is the comment that his press office has issued:
In a speech to the State of Nature conference organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
The sides of the Pleasaunce hedges at Wakehurst, Kew’s country garden in Ardingly, have proved invaluable to Limehurst who have been collecting yew hedge clippings around the UK since 1992. The firm, based at Hambrook near Chichester, extract taxol from the clippings - a constituent of a chemotherapy drug given to treat ovarian and breast cancers.
A multi-author study involving Kew scientists and led by Professor Angela Moles (University of New South Wales), asks the simple question ‘Which is the better predictor of plant traits: temperature or precipitation’. Published in the Journal of Vegetation Science, it is the first in an intended series of analyses of an unprecedented global dataset, including data for 21 plant traits from 447,961 species-site combinations worldwide.