Why Plant Diversity Matters

Plants and people go together. We need plants to survive. They provide food, clothing, medicines and much more. But for plants and people to thrive biodiversity is essential. At present about 1 in 5 plant species face possible extinction due to the transformation of land by humans and climate change caused by human activities. And many plants – as many as one in six – have not yet been studied for their potential benefits for humans.

Scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden collect and preserve plants – the Garden has an extensive seed bank for endangered and threatened plant species. They develop conservation plans to respond to environmental hazards and climate change. For example, researchers at the Garden take advantage of the heat island effect in the City of St. Louis to study plant performance and the Shaw Nature Reserve in the Ozark border is used to detect how flowers are responding from year to year to longer growing seasons and rising temperatures. See Climate Change for more on this work by the Garden.

The Kew Royal Botanical Garden in England is another institution seeking to preserve plant species from extinction. In this video Angela McFarlane explains how diversity equals resilience and is necessary for human communities to survive. Like the Missouri Botanical Garden, Kew collects and preserves plant life from areas around the globe.

 

Posted: June 5, 2015

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