The Last Great Plant Hunt
Evening presentation by Dr. Paul Smith, Leader, Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
Drinks reception: 6:30 pm
Presentation: 7:00 pm
Close: 8:00 pm
“Who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”
— Aldo Leopold, American ecologist, forester and environmentalist (1887–1948)
The work of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is to keep every cog and wheel as they may prove essential in combating daunting challenges such as food security, climate change, flooding, the need for medicine, and loss of habitat. The Partnership is the largest ex situ plant conservation project in the world and works with over one hundred partners worldwide to bank the seeds of wild plant species before they, and the genetic diversity they contain, become lost to extinction. The Partnership works extensively in China and in Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand, among others. Plant expert Paul Smith will regale you with tales of his adventures collecting seeds from all corners of the globe, give examples of Kew's work in China and the region, and explain the Partnership's priorities to safeguard plants so they can be used to combat the enormous challenges facing our planet including floods, climate change, food security, and starvation.
Dr. Paul Smith is a specialist in plant diversity. He has extensive experience in seed conservation, ecological survey, botanical inventory, vegetation mapping, and environmental monitoring. In 2009 the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership achieved its first milestone of storing seed from 10% of the world's plant species. By 2020, the Partnership aims to secure 25% of the world's flora and to enable the use of that seed for human innovation in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and habitat restoration. Currently holding over two billion seeds, the Bank now represents the world's number one biodiversity hotspot for wild plant species. Kew has a long history of working in Hong Kong, mainland China and other countries in the region, with extensive research partnerships in areas such as traditional medicine, plant conservation, useful plants, and habitat restoration.
Co-presented with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew