Regional cooperation essential to conserve plant biodiversity in Asia

29 September 2011 | News story

A new assessment of plant conservation calls for greater regional collaboration in documentation and conservation in Asia.

Regional cooperation in conserving plant diversity is essential to halt the overall loss of biodiversity in Asia, says the report Asian Plant Conservation Report 2010: A Review of Progress in Implementing the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, that was launched on the second day of the 5th Asia Regional Conservation Forum (RCF) in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It is the product of a collaboration between IUCN Councillor Professor Ma Keping, former director of the Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the IUCN Asia Regional Office.

Speaking at the launch, Prof. Keping said that the report is the first collaborative assessment of the rich and special plant diversity in the region. “Now we have a better idea where are the areas where plant conservation has been more successful and why among 40 countries in Asia. This knowledge is critical for acting on nature conservation and food security. We should try to promote collaboration between different regions in Asia because we have rich ecosystems and genetic resources,” he said.
 
Prof Keping led the effort to compile information on the cosnervation of plant genetic resources including a wide range of crops, such as rice, soybean and wheat, by botanists and conservationists in the region and beyond.

Stressing the importance of plant conservation at both large and small scales ranging from the household level to concerted government efforts, Mr Javed Jabbar, IUCN Vice President said that this compliation of information and knowledge should be circulated to governments, NGOs and communities. 

Speaking at the release, Ms Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Asia Regional Director said, “In order to fulfill our global conservation commitment, it is important to see in a regional context the status of plant conservation. This collaborative work is a good example how institutions and organizations can come together to produce something useful and important for nature conservation.”

The report examines progress of plant conservation in Asia within the framework of Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), since its inception in 2002 at the sixth Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It was first launched at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan in 2010.