Restoration ecology at Kew
Ecological restoration is the process of “assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed” (SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration) and restoration ecology is the science upon which the practice is based. It is a relatively new science that aims to guide those who work with land so that they can successfully restore areas affected by overexploitation, farming, industry or natural catastrophe.
Kew has a range of resources, including the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), that can play an important role in restoring habitats. Seed from the MSB project, together with expertise in areas such as plant surveying, mapping, propagation and germination, is currently being used in re-introduction and restoration programmes worldwide. Examples of projects that Kew is involved in include:
Enabling the People of Montserrat to Conserve the Centre Hills - a biodiversity assessment and mapping of Montserrat’s Centre Hills to identify zones for various management interventions, including restoration
Seeds of Success USA - seed collection for the restoration of a variety of habitats in the USA
Western Everlasting - ensuring the availability of seed of rare and priority plant species for restoration in Western Australia
Habitat restoration and species reintroductions will become increasingly important technologies as the effects of climate change become more marked. Botanic gardens are uniquely placed to enable these efforts.
In June, 2008, Kew held a restoration ecology workshop, attended by international leaders in the field. The objective was to develop a strategy for botanic gardens and a specific strategy to guide Kew in using its global resources to best effect.
The consolidation and expansion of Kew’s restoration ecology activities are now underway, and this web-page will be constantly updated to inform you of our progress. Watch this space!
If you have any enquiries about restoration ecology at Kew, please contact Kate Hardwick.