Plant Heritage set to influence Garden Plant Conservation at Global Level

Leading garden plant conservation charity Plant Heritage, takes up the challenge laid down by the United Nations Environment Programme to ensure that the genetic diversity of cultivated plants is safeguarded by 2020.
For the first time, cultivated plants and plants of socio-economic and cultural value have been included in new international targets through the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.[1]
Plant Heritage is one of the organisations discussing the creation of UK Biodiversity Indicators for Plant Genetic resources, and has been included in the reporting of the UK response to the Global Strategy for plant conservation.
Speaking on the announcement Mike Buffin, Plant Conservation Committee Chairman, said that the new global targets, finally place an importance on cultivated garden plants, along with their wild equivalents, and present an exciting and challenging opportunity for Plant Heritage to spearhead with other organisations the conservation of the UK's great heritage of garden plants.
“Over the next eight years Plant Heritage has the opportunity to lead and develop ways of conserving the diverse range of plants that now have in the past graced our gardens, and nothing could be more pressing considering the recent pest and disease outbreaks in the UK. Now the importance of cultivated plant conservation has been globally recognised, Plant Heritage needs to act,” said Mike.
“In the future, when you say ‘cultivated plant conservation,’ people’s first thought should be Plant Heritage,” he added.
The research findings from the Threatened Plants Project which Plant Heritage set up in 2009, will be integral to this new role and will enable us to provide a fuller picture of cultivated plant conservation and diversity within the UK. 
Detailing the charity’s response, Mike outlined that Plant Heritage plans:
o       By 2020 produce a definitive list of threatened cultivated plants.
o       By 2020 produce an online database of threatened cultivated plants.
o       By 2020 have 20% of the UK’s most threatened cultivated plants in active conservation programmes so their conservation status is under review.
o       By 2020 Plant Heritage will be the leading UK organisation pioneering the conservation of cultivated plants (similar to BGCI).
Speaking on this announcement Plant Heritage President Alan Titchmarsh said he hoped this news would help more and more people realise the value of the organisation and the work it does in ensuring conservation of garden plants. “Conservation is not about nostalgia, it is about forward thinking. It is wonderful that Plant Heritage has taken this lead to help the global move towards protecting the future of our gardens as we know it.”

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