Protecting Threatened Forests
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is one of the world's best-loved botanic gardens, and a world leading centre for plant science and conservation. Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, Kew is helping to protect the UK's woodlands and some of Africa's most threatened trees.
Forests are crucial to all life on Earth. They provide a home to 75% of the planet's plants and animals. They provide us with food, fuels and medicine and are incredibly important for our mental health and wellbeing. But they are disappearing at an alarming pace. We lose an area of tropical rainforest twice the size of Wales every year. In response to this, scientists at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew have recently set out ten 'golden rules' for reforestation. This list highlights how forests can be restored in the most effective way possible. The first 'rule' in this list is to protect existing forest first. Millions of hectares of forests are destroyed every year, leading to huge carbon dioxide emissions that are not easily offset by reforestation. It can take over 100 years for these forests to recover, so it is crucial that we protect what we already have before planting more. Our players are helping Kew to do just that.
Last year, the Cameroonian government approved logging concessions for Ebo Forest, a richly biodiverse and intact forest in Africa. Following a campaign and data supplied by Kew scientists and partners, the decision was reversed. Ebo Forest is home to incredible wildlife and until recently, has remained relatively unknown to botanical science. With funding from the players of People's Postcode Lottery, Cameroon is now one of Kew's Tropical Important Plant Areas which means the forests there can be protected for years to come.
In 2013, Kew launched the UK National Tree Seed Project, with funding from our players, in response to the pests and diseases, temperature changes and extreme weather events putting our native trees at ever increasing risk. The project has collected 13 million tree seeds from over 70 different species in that time from right across the UK, from Cornwall to the Isle of Harris. They are all conserved in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank in Sussex where it is hoped these time traveller seeds will offer future possibilities for research and conservation and to be used to grow a new generation of trees in centuries to come.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has recently published its ten year strategy 'Our Manifesto for Change' to end the extinction crisis and protect nature, mapping out its mission and pledges to intensify efforts to understand and protect plants and fungi, for the wellbeing of people and the future of all life on Earth.
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