Feature articles

Brazil: Community botany in the heart of the Amazon

15.10.10 by Annie Cooper and William Milliken

Man paddling through flooded forest in canoe By 1990 the inhabitants of ten tiny communities scattered along the Jauaperi river realised their traditional ribeirinho (riverbank) livelihoods were under threat. They set up the Amazon Association, which has made a real difference to their lives, and the next step is a community botany partnership. This will give them new skills to ensure the success of a new co-operative and to understand and manage their land (which includes habitats from dry land ‘terra firme’ rainforest, to seasonally flooded ‘igapó’ and ‘campina’).

UK: Is it getting too warm for the Tufted Saxifrage?

01.09.10 by Pete Kay and Tom Deacon

Tufted saxifrage flower A case study looking at the possible impacts of climate change on a rare Arctic alpine plant clinging on for survival in the rugged mountains of North Wales...

Ascension Island: Hooker’s lost parsley fern found on mountain

17.08.10 by Stedson Stroud and Olivia Renshaw

small green fernOn 27 July 2009, the Ascension Island Government’s Conservation Team were conducting a routine annual plant census with botanist Dr. Phil Lambdon. “We were exploring a narrow ridge on the southern side of Green Mountain. By chance, Phil and I noticed a tiny frond sticking out of a crevice in the rock." Stedson Stroud and Olivia Renshaw tell the story of their chance discovery.

UK IN PICTURES: Wild about summer


ragwort and cinnabar moth caterpillarPlant Talk received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to Tori Green's last photo series so as we reach the height of summer in the UK, it's time for some more.

Spain: Crocus - banking the world's most expensive spice

28.07.10 by José Antonio Fernández, Crocusbank Coordinator

Crocusbank logoSaffron is made from the dried stigmas of the Saffron flower (Crocus sativus L.), a triploid sterile plant vegetatively propagated by means of bulbs (also called corms or onions). Saffron is unique among crops - the product is the stigma and each one one weighs about 2 mg. (Read more...)

UK IN PICTURES: Conserving plants on the UK's most southerly tip


juniper close upThe coastal grasslands of the Lizard, Cornwall are some of the most diverse plant habitats in the country. Here, unusual geology combines with a mild climate and a remote and ancient agricultural landscape to foster many species that are found nowhere else.

Colombia: From white to green


cocaine article thumbnailPlant Talk introduced the Colombian cocaine issue a few weeks ago. Today Colombians Oscar Cuervo and Nelson Reyes describe how the cocaine industry is ravaging the environment and people in their beloved home country.

Kyrgyzstan: Conserving Eden


An introduction to BGCI's exciting new project in the Tien Shan region of Kyrgyzstan.

Conserving Eden thumbnail linkKyrgyzstan lies at the heart of the internationally important biodiversity hotspot formed by the mountains of Central Asia. Featuring a variety of land forms, rock types and climatic conditions over a wide altitudinal range, this hotspot is home to an immensely rich diversity in animal and plant life.

UK: Where have all the hunter-gatherers gone?


Harvesting bilberriesPlant Talk invited Jennifer Lee from the University of Liverpool to share her knowledge on modern day wild food foraging and its implications for plant conservation.

Plant Profile: Philodendron bipinnatifidum


Guembe flower In this special two part feature Prof. Ghillean Prance and Dr. Hector Keller take a close look at Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Araceae) in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones, Argentina.

Mali: Plants at the heart of everyday life

11.02.10 by Camilla Toulmin, IIED

Baobab flowerThe black of the night sky was thinning as Nyeli Tangara rolled out of bed, hitching her baby onto her back and collecting her rope and bucket. In the distance, she could hear the first thud-thud-thud of pestle and mortar, as women across the village began the rhythm of a new morning.

Philippines: Geo-tagging reveals mining threats on the “Last frontier”


mining in the philippinesPlant Talk invited Dario Novellino from the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD), UK to speak out against the logging and mining in protected areas that is destroying the forests of Palawan.

Nymphaea tetragona: A rare and endangered plant


15The Pygmy Water-lily, Nymphaea tetragona (Ait.) Georgi (Nymphaceae), is the Asia-tropical representative of the diminutive water-lilies.

UK: Keeping invaders out of the Forest


himalayan balsamThe New Forest is one of the most important areas for wildlife in Western Europe but its rivers and wetlands are threatened by an invasion of non-native plants. The battle lines are drawn and Catherine Chatters describes how she is taking up the fight.

Chile: A Chilean conservation adventure


collecting data on plants Smoking volcanoes, devastated towns, leech infested forests, endless breathtaking landscapes, and the beautiful but often highly endangered plant species of South America greeted the team from Wakehurst Place, Kew’s country estate in West Sussex, the Forestry Commission's Bedgebury Pinetum and Westonbirt Arboretum.

Seychelles: More news from an Island Paradise...

beach on seychellesThe Seychelles are a group of 115 islands sheltering in the Indian Ocean. Famous for honeymooners lounging on sandy beaches, they appear a paradise on earth. But beneath the coconut palms you will see people and nature trying hard to get along.

UK: Ecology, culture and passion


picture of wildlflowers and bus Richard Scott from Landlife tells us how they make things happen... Starting points are critical in determining the places you might get to. They are the launching platforms for what is possible. “Culture” said Liverpool poet Brian Patten “is a by-product of people’s aspirations; it’s to do with achievement, endeavour, hope, and all things that make us a little more than we begin as.”

India: Tapyo - A herbal salt of the Apatani

The Apatani group of villages located in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India, lie on the border of the Himalaya and Indo Burma Biodiversity Hotspots. Due to their geographical isolation - living in the interior of dense forests and unconnected by any means of communication - the villagers tried to evolve a self-sufficiency economy where they met their requirements from the surrounding natural resources.

UK: Wildlife returns to flooded bog

A huge restoration project to bring back 12,000 year old bogs in Northumberland has been completed nearly two years ahead of schedule.

Himalayas: Vulnerable species at mountainous crossroads

A new report by WWF - The Eastern Himalayas: Where Worlds Collide - describes more than 350 new species living at a geographical and ecological crossroad.

The Burren: Invasive scrub threatens Ireland's botanical jewel

Changes in management techniques threaten one of Europe's most important botanical sites, but a team of scientists and farmers are working together to safeguard its future.

Redd alert

It's time we brush up on REDD - or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation - for all our sakes.

News from an island paradise

A new plant research agenda for the Seychelles hopes to prioritise conservation research questions for the next five to ten years that will inform the plant conservation management of the Islands.