Friday, 31st January 2020 10:00pm

These are my notes from ‘The Role of Botanic Gardens in Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change’ by Dr Paul Smith at Botanic Garden Wales. Immensely interesting, layered and thought-provoking talk. Plant biodiversity at heart of how botanic gardens can help with climate change mitigation.

Big question: should botanic gardens promote use of native plants to wider gardening public, thus instigating cultural shift toward greater biodiversity, in our gardens and beyond? I’ll come back to this question… 🤔

These notes are all over the place, meant for me, although they are on the internet.

  • Dr Paul Smith, Sec Gen Botanic Gardens Conservation International
  • 20% plant species threatened with extinction
  • 50% of land transformed directly by humans
  • Diversity important for:
    • Food security
    • Water security
    • Energy
    • Human health
    • Biodiversity conservation
    • Climate change mitigation
  • 3,000 botanic gardens across the world
  • 60,000 plant scientists
  • 120,000 (⅓) grown in world’s botanic gardens
  • “There is no technical reason why any plant should go extinct”

Adapting agriculture to climate chnage project

  • Crop Wild Relatives
  • Research of CRWs, showed 53% not in see banks, 20% (of these?), threatened in situ
  • $50m grant from Norway to collect species
  • 80% world’s calories from 20(?) species
  • 50 calories from what, rice & maize
  • “Smoke seed germination”, nut tree in Botswana, ability to propagate seed
  • Helped set up UK National Tree Seed Project

Climate change mitigation

  • International Plant Sentinel Network - early warning network, eg ash specimens in eastern Europe
  • The Bonn Challenge, 300 Mha land promised to sequester carbon
  • But problems with mono-culture of non-native species eg eucalyptus in Africa
  • Also, issues with native species (knowledge, cost)
  • Biodiverse restoration at scale?
  • Gulf between science & policy
  • The Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens
    • “Every variable controlled & recorded“
    • Is this incompatible with more laissez-faire rewilding?
    • After certain time, once pioneer species established?

Some slides of things I didn’t have a chance to write down


Value of research into CWR


Graph of increase in plant diseases in UK


Problem with exotic species in restoration


Problems with native species in restoration