National Collections and Threatened Plants work recognised in new government report

“Plant Heritage’s National Plant Collections contain, among other internationally significant socio-economically and culturally valuable resource, 2,395 taxa in seven Annex 1 genera across 14 locations (Plant Heritage 2018). In the past year these increased by 512 taxa at three locations newly registered within the scheme.

Unpublished data (2011-2018) held within Plant Heritage’s Threatened Plants Project (Seymour 2012) and publicly available data2 additionally shows that 9,000 relevant taxa in 54 genera are held across 185 other locations throughout the UK, including significant holdings by the National Trust and National Trust for Scotland, the Royal Horticultural Society, national, university and other botanic gardens and arboreta, the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and the Eden Project.

2  accessed 28 June 2018

Plant Heritage. 2018. The National Plant Collections 2018 Directory. Plant Heritage, March 2018, 162 pp.

Seymour, K. 2012. Conserving cultivars. The Plantsman n.s. p.154-159.”

These two paragraphs can be found as part of the UK Biodiversity Indicators 2018 (see below for links) published in July, and are also being included in the forthcoming UK’s 6th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be published in December 2018.

This is as a result of me, representing Plant Heritage, attending the UK-PGR Group at Defra (“The Group provides advice and technical support to Government Departments on technical and policy matters which relate to the UK or the UK’s international role in the area of plant genetic resources.”) over the past year, and deciding that the data we hold here should be more widely recognised. The Threatened Plants Project and some statistics at that time on threatened plants held in National Collections and elsewhere were previously mentioned in the UK’s 5th National Report to the CBD.

There were considerable calculations that went into the above numbers, which are only reporting on genera of direct relevance to food and agriculture, including major crops, crop wild relatives and weed relatives. Our next meeting, tomorrow, will have a discussion on widening the criteria for relevance to recognise the contribution made by wider horticulture, and hopefully reflecting more of the contribution made to conserving genetic resource across our collections.

Meanwhile, time for another big thank you to all Collection Holders and partner organisations for providing us with information and plant lists!

UK Biodiversity Indicators 2018  under C9b. Plant genetic resources – Enrichment Index . We have not provided accession level data to the Enrichment Index, so scroll down to click on Download Fiche to get to (see page 5).

– Kalani Seymour, Threatened Plants Programme Manager, 16th October 2018  01483 447 540 @SaveTheCvs