[PCA] NEWS: Climate change 'early warning system' proposed by BGCI

Olivia Kwong plant at plantconservation.org
Mon Jun 9 09:09:15 CDT 2008


To address the global threat that climate change poses to plants, a 
radical "early warning system" has been proposed by scientists at Botanic 
Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) in a major new report entited 
"Plants and Climate Change: Which Future".

The Problem:

"Plants form the basis of every major terrestrial ecosystem on our planet, 
but despite their key importance to all life, we currently have an 
extremely limited understanding of how they will be affected by climate 
change" said Belinda Hawkins of BGCI, the author of a ground-breaking 
report on the subject. "What we do know is that this new climatic era will 
have its 'winner' and 'loser' species, and unfortunately many of 
humankind's most valued crops, medicinal and ornamental plants are likely 
to fall into the latter category."

Although there is consensus amongst botanists that radical actions will 
need to be taken to help plants, and particularly crop species, to adapt 
to an increasingly uncertain climate, the scientific community is only 
beginning to understand how this should be done. What makes this situation 
particularly concerning is that the time taken to adapt agricultural and 
plant conservation practices is often slower than the rate of climate 
change. "On average the development of a new blackcurrant variety, which 
is better adapted to warmer climate, takes about 16 years." says Hawkins. 
"The problem is that this time-delay may often be too late given the 
current pace of climate change."

See the link above for the full information on the proposal by BGCI.

More information about the native-plants mailing list