State of the World's Plants and Fungi Virtual Symposium

Join international experts on 13 – 15 October 2020 to discuss actions for protecting and sustainably using the world’s plant and fungal biodiversity for the benefit of people and the planet.

Tree trunks surrounded by raging orange flames

13–15 October 2020
Daily timings vary slightly: approximately 1pm – 6pm UK time (UTC +1h)


Online, worldwide



Register now

In conjunction with the publication of a groundbreaking report, scientists, policymakers, businesses, NGOs, the public and media will come together online for the first international State of the World's symposium combining both plants and fungi. 

Plants and fungi are the building blocks of our planet, with the potential to solve urgent problems that threaten human life. These vital resources, however, are being compromised by biodiversity loss and now, more than ever, we need to explore the solutions that plants and fungi could provide.


To make the symposium as open and inclusive as possible, it is free to attend. We rely on donations to help us continue our scientific research and preserve our collections and would welcome your voluntary contributions to support our work.

Donate now

In September 2020 we will be publishing, in collaboration with international researchers, the very first State of the World’s report that combines both plants and fungi. The report takes a deep dive into how we currently use plants and fungi, what we are missing and what we risk losing. 

This online symposium brings together experts to discuss findings presented in the report and to motivate actions for protecting and sustainably using the world’s plant and fungal diversity. The outcomes of the discussions will be used to inform policies and research aimed at exploring and sharing knowledge and benefits associated with plants and fungi around the world. 

By holding it online, we’re able to bring together even more people globally – representing a diverse range of skills, experience and ethnic backgrounds.


The programme is based around six themed sessions in which invited experts will address a topical question through presentations and a Q&A panel discussion:

Session 1 – Collections 
Why are they important for averting biodiversity loss? What should we do to help them evolve to enable us to address future challenges?

Session 2 – Biodiversity loss
What is driving the extinction rates?

Session 3 – Plant and fungal uses
How can we maximise the use of plant and fungal diversity to meet global challenges?

Session 4 – Genomics
How do we embrace novel approaches to studying plant and fungal biodiversity?

Session 5 – Commercialisation
How do we optimise the economic benefits of plant and fungal biodiversity in recognition of different stakeholders’ needs?

Session 6 – Policies   
How can we work globally to respect and enable Access and Benefit Sharing and CITES regulations, while increasing the diversity of plants and fungi being studied?

View programme

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The staff and trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew would like to thank the Sfumato Foundation for generously funding the State of the World’s Plants and Fungi project. If you are interested in advertising or sponsorship opportunities at the symposium, please contact

Fungi growing in the ground

State of the World's Plants and Fungi

Providing assessments of our current knowledge of the diversity of plants and fungi on Earth, the global threats that they face, and the policies to safeguard them

Read about the project and download the 2016 - 2018 reports