Conserving Europe's threatened plants
'Conserving Europe's threatened plants: Progress towards Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation' is BGCI's latest publication, being launched next week at the fifth European Botanic Gardens Congress: Botanic gardens in the age of climate change, in Helsinki, Finland.
The continuing loss of biodiversity in Europe is a major concern, with less than half protected species and habitats considered to be in favourable conservation status.
As Professor Vernon Heywood, who has written the report's foreword, says; 'It is disturbing that the lack of data is still a limiting factor in achieving conservation goals. This report is all the more welcome in helping address one of the most serious gaps in our knowledge - how many European plant species are threatened?'
Threatened European plants Centaurea pontica, Crocus hadriaticus subsp. hadriaticus and Campanula andrewsii subsp. andrewsii
In answer to this question, we have identified 1,917 threatened European taxa, or 15% of the European flora. This list is based largely on national Red Lists and species distribution data.
Target 8 of the GSPC calls for 60% of threatened plants in ex situ collections and 10% of them in recovery programmes by 2010. Since there is no European Red List of Plants, there has previously been no means to measure progress towards this target. Now we have this list, it gives us some means to prioritise actions and ensure the 60% target is met by 2010.
From this consolidated list of threatened plants we have identified some 42% as being present in seed banks or living collections in botanic gardens around the world. There is still much to be done, we need to assess the conservation value of the living collections of threatened European flora, as well as develop partnerships between conservation agencies to prioritise and coordinate action and share data. We'll also be linking our European threatened plant list to the PlantSearch database, get in touch with us if you'd like to know more.
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The report also includes a number of case studies on the conservation work underway in botanic gardens in Europe, let us know if you have a case study you'd like to share.