Britain’s famous Royal Botanic Gardens have joined the recovery and preservation effort following Australia’s disastrous bushfire season.
A team of experts visited Australia last month to scope how the UK can best contribute to the response. Then, on a visit to Australia by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this month it was announced that assistance from the botanic gardens in Kew to support emergency seed collecting in areas affected by the bushfires would be part of a package of UK support.
“This further collaboration between the Australian Seed Bank Partnership and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will help protect Australia’s precious biodiversity following the terrible bushfires,” said Raab.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Australian people in the face of this challenge.”
Kew has worked in collaboration with Australian seed banks since 2000, sharing expertise on seed collection processes, conservation and research so that the seeds of plant species considered rare or threatened can be banked and conserved for the future.
Dr Elinor Breman, Senior Researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, said the organisation’s response to the bushfires was part of ongoing co-operation with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP).
“The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has a long-standing and productive relationship with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership, with whom we have worked with for 15 years,” she said.
“We offered our assistance with the emergency response to the bushfires and are pleased to be able to support their efforts, as part of our ongoing partnership to address biodiversity loss through seed-banking in Australia.
“Kew’s scientists will work with the ASBP to conduct emergency seed collecting in areas devastated by the bushfires and longer-term germination research, which will hopefully aid the international effort to restore habitats more quickly in this precious and biodiverse region.”