Hortus Leiden helps to protect plant diversity around the world
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, a world-wide effort by the botanist and plant protection community, is making considerable progress in protecting plant diversity around the world, a new report says. The Hortus botanicus Leiden is one of the partners of the project.
A press release by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (see text frame below) mentions that ‘while the 16 targets of the decades long plan to protect global plant are unlikely to be met, countries have made considerable progress towards achieving many of them.’ The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation has the overall aim to halt the loss of plant diversity, contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development, and promote the sharing of the benefits arising from the use of plant genetic resources.
Successes in the project include the establishment of World Flora Online and The Global Tree Assessment. World Flora Online is an open-acces database of all known plants, containing more than 350,000 species of plants and mosses. This database provides a comprehensive baseline of knowledge on the world’s plants.
The Global Tree Assessment plans to have a complete list of the conservation status of all known plant species by the end of 2020. This list is of fundamental importance in helping prioritise national actions. The Assessment aims to ensure that no tree species becomes extinct, despite showing that currently one in five tree species globally are known to be threatened with extinction.
Why we need plant diversity
‘Plant diversity is crucial in the functioning of all ecosystems,’ said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. ‘The decline of plant biodiversity is an illustration of a larger problem in our relationship with the natural world. Botanic gardens and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation play a crucial role in protecting biodiversity and fostering stewardship.’
Hortus prefect Paul Kessler adds: ‘I am proud that our green team is so committed to multiplying and cultivating many species of plants to ensure that biodiversity is preserved.’
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993. It is the first global agreement to cover all aspects of biological diversity: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), based in Montreal, Canada, was established to support the goals of the Convention. Its primary functions are to organise meetings, prepare reports, assist member governments in the implementation of the various programmes of work, coordinate with other international organisations and collect and disseminate information.