There is no time to lose, with the planet’s very future at stake.
That is the stark message as delegates from more than 190 countries gather in Japan for a United Nations convention on biodiversity. The UN says urgent steps must be taken to combat the destruction of plant and animal species that ensure mankind’s survival.
The UK’s Millennium Seed Bank is hailed as the world’s most ambitious plant conservation initiative.
Experts there echo warnings about the dangers of human activity.
“One in five plant species on the planet are in danger of extinction. They are under threat. One in five,” said Millennium Seed Bank botanist Tim Pearce. “And the biggest threat is Man’s expansion.”
The bank in southern England will eventually hold the seeds of at least half of all known plants. The UN has said the world will fail to achieve a goal set eight years ago to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The Japan talks aim to set a new target for 2020.