4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress
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Conservation of oceanic island floras
Global Island Plant Conservation Network (GIPCN)July 18 2010
The Netwprk was launched at the 4th Global Botanic Gardnes Congress in Dublin. Is proposed that it will be organised at two levels: providing the basic infrastructure for networking; while also developing long-term practical solutions and activities among network members.
Five major areas of intervention are envisaged:
- Rapid assessment of the status of island plant diversity
- Documenting and monitoring ex situ conservation of island plants
- Streamlining IUCN Red List data listing for island plants
- Facilitating rapid and effective early warning of emerging invasive species on islands
- Evaluating and documenting good practice management examples
Global, oceanic island plant conservation network
The rich, singular and extremely fragile insular endemic floras of the world are facing unprecedented risks as a consequence of the additive impacts of various biological and socio-economic factors such as habitat loss, population fragmentation, decline of pollinators, invasive species, and increasingly climate change. A recently published biodiversity audit estimated that at least 7000 insular endemic plant species worldwide may be highly threatened, some 3000 of them are considered to be critically endangered. We emphasise that the dire situation of many island plants also endangers unique ecosystems including its fauna, and may therefore trigger a further cascade of extinctions.
The threats faced by insular endemic floras are global, and only a coordinated international effort will provide the critical mass of knowledge needed to guide practical conservation work, applied conservation research and policy. We therefore highlight the critical problems that insular floras are facing, and recognize the urgent need to develop a global, oceanic island plant conservation network to share knowledge and expertise, discuss common challenges, and participate in the formulation and implementation of multi-disciplinary conservation objectives, political decisions and actions. We recognize that island plant conservation has grown substantially over the past decades and many successful good practice case examples are documented. However conservation action needs to be scaled up rapidly and gaps need to be identified and filled at local and international levels. The global conservation of island plant diversity should be recognized as a potent contribution to the sustainable development of islands, the restoration of natural capital and in particular watersheds and traditionally used plant resources.
We therefore recommend that:
Anogramma ascensionis back from the dead!First discovered on Ascension Island by Joseph Hooker in 1876, this fern was last seen in 1958. Earlier this year local conservation officer Stedson Stroud and botanist Phil Lambon found four of the native ferns growing out of an almost bare rock face under very harsh, dry conditions. In the months since, botanists have used climbing gear to regularly weed and water the little fern patch...