Outgoing Director of Kew calls for new deal for plants
In an exclusive interview with the UK's Guardian newspaper, Professor Steve Hopper, the outgoing Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and ex-member of the Board of Directors of BGCI, has called for an urgent global deal to safeguard plants.
With a fifth of the planet's plant species in danger of extinction within the next century, Steve Hopper emphasized that governments around the world needed to make firm plans to reverse the decline.
"We're at a crossroads in many ways, we now have half the remaining wild vegetation on the planet left that was around 200-300 years ago," said Hopper, who will leave his position as chief executive and chief scientist at Kew Gardens in a few weeks, after six years at the top. "It's really important for us to decide, as a global community, do we want to care for what remains and get into the business of repairing and restoring diversity? Or continue on the path of ever more incursions into wild places in the hope that human beings will be able to exploit resources and continue with a reasonable quality of life?"
Recognising that people and institutions around the world have already demonstrated that conservation and restoration programmes can work in turning the tide against ecological degradation, Professor Hopper called for the speed and scale of such efforts to be ramped-up.
One example of the direct moves on-going to restore damaged environments is the formation of the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens that was launched in May this year. Coordinated by BGCI and bringing together botanic gardens from around the world, the alliance will work with 100 places that have been damaged or destroyed across six continents.
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