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Plant Diversity: the Key to Life on Earth

来源 作者:Andrew Wood 时间:2010-10-20 Tag:plant   life   earth   点击:

     What wonderous life in this I lead! 
     Ripe apples drop about my head; 
     The luscious clusters of the vine 
     Upon my mouth do crush their wine; 
     The nectarine, and curious peach, 
     Into my hands themselves do reach; 
     Stumbling on melons, as I pass, 
     Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass. 

     Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less, 
     Withdraws into its happiness: 
     The mind, that ocean where each kind      
Does straight its own resemblance find; 
     Yeh it creates, transcending these, 
     Far other worlds, and other seas; 
     Annihilating all that's made 
     To a green thought in a green shade. 

           Andrew Marvell (1621-78)


'Prioritising plant conservation and their associated habitats will safeguard the future of animal and human life.'


Plants are an inspiration(鼓舞人心的人或事), and they are at the centre of our lives. For marriage we celebrate with a bouquet(花束), and at a funeral we remember with a wreath(花环). From the banana in our lunchbox, to the homes we construct, the fuels we burn and the air we breathe, plants are an integral(必不可缺的) part in our living world.

We may have put humans on to the moon, yet we still don't have a definitive(明确的,权威性的) list of all plant species on Earth. In 2002, governments that were parties to the convention(协定) on biological diversity(生物多样性) adopted the global strategy for plant conservation(保护). Among the 16 adopted targets for 2010 was, first, a working list of all known plant species. Botanic(植物的) gardens in the UK and US are leading in this research and the plant list currently(当前,眼下) stands at an estimated 380,000 species – and it's still not complete.

Traditionally, botanic gardens have been considered as beautiful collections of exotic(奇异的) plants in greenhouses. Elsewhere, these "indoor plants" are wild, and many are under threat. The botanic gardens' collections act as an insurance policy, protecting a biological resource which is more valuable than all the money in all of our banks. For all life on Earth depends on plants. Plant diversity (rather than simply abundance) is critical(关键性的): greater diversity gives greater resilience(恢复力,顺应力) to disease and other threats while also preserving the complex interdependence of ecosystems(生态系统).

Negotiations in Nagoya, Japan involving 192 countries which are part of the convention on biological diversity open today. Under discussion are proposals(提倡) for better plant conservation and higher targets than those adopted in 2002. The huge task of creating a definitive list of plants and building the capacity for conservation is onerous(困难的,繁重的), but botanic gardens have played their part in working towards several of the 2010 targets. By working with international partners and especially those in the economically poorer countries (which are often much richer in biodiversity), we are progressing.

An estimated one in five plants are under threat of extinction(绝种): prioritising(把……区分优先次序) their conservation and their associated habitats(住处,生长地) will also safeguard the future of animal and human life. Governments attending the Nagoya meeting must build capacity in all countries.

The botanic gardens community is calling for all 16 of the proposed new targets to be adopted, and this would include at least 75% of threatened plant species in ex situ(在原位) collections, preferably(更适宜) in the country of origin, and at least 20% available for recovery and restoration(重建,修复) programmes. This target is particularly important in the face of climate change: we can't guarantee that plants can be conserved in their natural habitats.

We must have a positive outcome from Nagoya meeting. Our biological inheritance(遗产) is at stake(危如累卵), and so is the inspiration for so much in our lives.

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