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Australia Wildfires: UK Group To Help Preserve Endangered Plants

The Royal Botanic Gardens is just the latest in a string of organizations to be helping Australia with its wildfire problem.
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Britain is set to help with some humanitarian efforts in Australia after researchers and scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens in London have committed to helping to rebuild the continent’s animal and wildlife ecosystem- the direct casualties for the current wildfires.

In a rude reminder of the threats that the entire world faces due to climate change, Australia suffers from what is considered by many as the worst wildfires to be experienced in human history.

The fires, which started in late July 2019, have killed at least 30 people across the country, while well over 3,000 homes and properties have either been destroyed or severely damaged in the state of New South Wales.

Several agencies and safety authorities have worked hard to contain and put these fires out, but despite help from several nations across the world- even the United States- these fires still burn.

Persistent drought and heat have exacerbated the problem, which has now served as the most indicative pointer of how climate change could fuel natural disasters across the world.

Protecting the Next Generation of Plants and Seeds

The Royal Botanic Gardens is just the latest in a string of organizations to be helping Australia with its wildfire problem. The agency plans to house some of the endangered animal and plant species from the wildfires.

As the news source reported, the Gardens would store some of these precious specimens at its Millennium Seed Bank (MSB)- a trove of seeds, which, as it explains, acts as an “insurance policy” in situations where a certain seed or plant specimens suddenly become extinct.

The Bank houses well over 2 billion seeds, all sourced from 190 countries of the world, and stored in air-tight domes placed in underground freezers that measure about -20°C.

The Millennium Seed Bank is home to more than 2.3 billion seeds from more than 40,000 species
The Millennium Seed Bank is home to more than 2.3 billion seeds from more than 40,000 species

The point of the Bank, as stated earlier, is to help prevent extinction by keeping a sample of specimen alive and using them to start a new generation of plants in years to come if necessary.

Kew scientists have committed to working with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership on the project, with Elinor Brenan, an official MSB, explaining in a statement that the main objective of this partnership is to address the issue of biodiversity loss in Australia.

In a statement, Brenan reportedly added, “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.”

While the partnership might not do so much to rid Australia of these fires, it can at least ensure that the continuity of life for millions of seeds is assured.

Governments Ignore Signs and Dally on the Issue of Climate Change

Australia isn’t the only significant wildfire incident that was recorded last year. The Amazon Forest, which is home to about a fifth of the Earth’s oxygen supply, was ravaged by wildfires of its own in the middle of the past year. The Amazon fires were especially tragic, as while the region might span less than 2 percent of the Earth’s total surface area, it houses up to 50 percent of the planet’s entire plants and animals, according to stats from The Nature Conservancy.

Like the Australia wildfires, the Amazon fires were also significantly due to the effects of rapid climate change, although human activity- such as industrial activities and land clearing for farms- played a significant role in exacerbating them.

Regardless, little attention is still being given to climate change reform. Despite protests and cries from activists the world over, governments and capitalists have still not found the problem to be critical enough, thus endangering the world and putting lives at the risk of even more wildfires.

Robin Watson

Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

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