Historic Kew Gardens collection to go digital in major boost for climate change research
A £15 million investment to digitise the world’s largest collection of plant and fungal specimens will “revolutionise” climate change research and help protect biodiversity for generations to come, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury yesterday (4 November) announced.
- Government to fund £15 million digitisation of the Herbarium at Kew Gardens in major boost to “revolutionise” climate change research during opening week of COP26.
- The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke, confirmed the funding on a visit to the world’s largest collection of plant and fungal specimens.
- The historic archive spans 170 years and includes specimens collected by Charles Darwin.
Simon Clarke said the significant injection of government funding would allow researchers from across the globe to access the historic collection free of charge.
The Herbarium houses over 8 million plant and fungal specimens with some dating back 170 years - including specimens collected by Charles Darwin.
Digitising this treasure trove of information will also ensure that it is protected from gradual deterioration with age or catastrophic loss from fire.
Simon Clarke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury yesterday said:
This vital investment will revolutionise research to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. By digitising this unique collection, the largest of plant and fungal specimens in the world, we are opening up a vast stockpile of data which will seed a forest of vital research projects across the planet.
The Director of Kew Gardens, Richard Deverell, yesterday said:
I am absolutely delighted that the British Government has committed £15m towards the digitisation of Kew’s plant collections and to secure them for future generations through the construction of a new collections laboratory. These collections represent knowledge of plant and fungal diversity that will help scientists around the world conserve nature and find solutions to some of the most critical challenges facing humanity.
Dr Aaron Davis, Senior research leader in the Crops and Global Change team at Kew Gardens yesterday said:
The collections at Kew are a global resource that help us to understand what is happening to our biodiversity, how climate change is affecting nature and what we are losing. It was assembled by partners across the world so it is therefore only right that we speed up the process of digitising this data for everyone to use now in tackling species loss and ensuring we are making good choices that are sustainable for people and planet.
The government-funded project, which is estimated to take four years to complete, will also support ongoing projects at Kew, including mapping endangered tropical plants in East Africa and Madagascar, protecting vital biodiversity.
The Chief Secretary’s visit comes as world leaders have this week gathered for COP26 Glasgow and Governments have made unprecedented commitments to protect forests, reduce methane emissions and finance green technology.
Latest News from
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack responds to November 2021 GDP27/01/2022 15:20:00
Our priority is achieving sustained recovery and urging people to get their boosters, says Secretary of State.
Boost for businesses with Chancellor visit to West Midlands to launch new tech support scheme20/01/2022 15:20:00
The Chancellor held a virtual roundtable with small businesses today (20 January) to launch Help to Grow: Digital, designed to support smaller businesses adopt new tech to help them thrive.
Government backs UK entrepreneurs with tech support and software to help them grow20/01/2022 13:14:00
Help to Grow: Digital scheme launches today to support small businesses with discounted software and free advice.
Government to strengthen rules on misleading cryptocurrency adverts18/01/2022 11:10:00
Plans to strengthen the rules on cryptoasset advertisements and protect consumers from misleading claims were published by the Government today (18 January).
UK launches consultation on domestic implementation of global minimum tax for large multinational groups11/01/2022 16:10:00
The UK government has today (11 January 2022) published a consultation seeking views for how a worldwide 15% minimum corporation tax should be domestically implemented.
Businesses most impacted by Omicron variant to benefit from over £700 million as government delivers funding to local authorities07/01/2022 14:12:00
New grant funding for businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Emergency funding available for arts, culture and heritage doubled to £60 million to tackle impact of Omicron24/12/2021 09:24:00
Emergency funding from Culture Recovery Fund increased by £30 million to help more organisations through the winter
£1 billion in support for businesses most impacted by Omicron across the UK21/12/2021 15:20:00
Additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced today (21 December).