a Royal Botanic Gardens, Kewin England, is one of the oldest gardens in the world, with over 260 years, and its direct patron is The recently deceased Queen Elizabeth II UNESCO considers it a heritage of humanity, combining an extensive catalog of plants and fungi on a global scale, which exceeds the mark of millions of species.
At the head of the true ‘plant kingdom’ is a Brazilian: Alexandre Antonelli is the Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, taking charge in 2019 and coordinating research and studies with the most diverse plant species found in the place.
Born in Campinas (SP), before taking over as director of Kew, Antonelli spent years as a professor at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), where he studied biodiversity. “I have worked with plants and biodiversity throughout my career, Kew is where we have the largest collection of them,” he says sound echo.
The seeds, fungi, and vegetables in place act as a kind of thermometer that indicates the direction the planet is going in terms of weather changes and conservation of the environment, as well as incorporating a global knowledge library about the park and life in it.
Plants help find solutions to global warming and hunger
In addition to the beauty of the foliage and flowers, the Royal Botanic Garden invests in the study of its species in order to understand the problems that plague the planet. This is done by comparing and observing the evolution of plants and fungi over time.
“The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a global scientific organization that searches for solutions to some of the biggest challenges societies face. Our work contributes to finding science-based solutions to biodiversity loss, climate change and food security,” explains Antonelli.
According to Antonelli, understanding the evolutionary origins of different species and how they adapted to periods prior to climate change helps predict response and tolerance. [das espécies] of the ongoing climate crisis on the planet.
But in addition to observing the reaction of these species to global warming over the years, the researcher explains that it is necessary for this study to analyze the interactions between humans and plants throughout history.
Antonelli explains that “the history between humans and plants is also important and opens up the opportunity to test specific hypotheses, for example, about the medicinal properties of these plants.”
“We do our best to tell this story about people interacting with plants from different perspectives, including early uses, agriculture and economic values. This study is conducted through our interpretive signs directly in the garden and online in our vast seat of data.”, He adds.
Encyclopedia of plants is open to all
Kew Gardens originated from a private collection of botanical gardens funded by the royal family. It was Princess Augusta who founded the botanical garden in 1759. However, in 1772, her son King George III inherited the property Q And joined the royal estate of Richmond – two gardens became one. That’s why I use it in the plural: gardens.
It is currently a public place financed in part by taxpayers and through self-managed business models. The knowledge generated by cataloging more than thousands of species of plants and fungi is free to everyone in the world online and brings together past and current collections in the park, which today includes more than 50,000 living species.
Antonelli describes this remarkable cataloging of species as a veritable “digital revolution”, which will help share the wealth of century-old knowledge in Kew Gardens.
“We are providing scientists around the world with unprecedented access to collections of more than 8 million specimens of plants and fungi,” says Antonelli.
You are The data is an open format And go through a massive digitization system, which is part of the Foundation’s scientific program, and Keio Science Strategy 2021-2025which aims to expand access globally.
“We are continuing to check and evaluate Our scientific and historical collectionsand working with our international partners to diversify the structures in which we tell our stories. Part of this includes making our collections of plants, fungi, botanical literature and other specimens accessible to the public and researchers,” Antonelli comments.
Protecting plants, ecosystems and indigenous peoples
Kew’s activities help conserve a variety of fungi and plants, but expand this care by taking researchers to work frequently with local communities and indigenous peoples to ensure that their knowledge and livelihoods are protected alongside the ecosystems they study.
“We protect tens of thousands of plant species in situ and work with partners around the world to identify priority areas for ‘in situ’ conservation.” [onde as espécies ocorrem e vivem naturalmente]’ , explains Antonelli.
“My personal experience in Brazilian ecosystems helps me understand the challenges that exist for protecting biodiversity, but also gives me hope for the great scientific discoveries that lie ahead for scientists,” he adds.
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