Life on Earth Depends on PLANTS
There is an Urgent Need for Plant Conservation
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the world’s largest and most important conservation network, as many as one in every eight species of plants is threatened with extinction worldwide.
Each year the IUCN publishes a list ranking thousands of plants as vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild or extinct. Botanic gardens play a crucial role in preserving these plants either in their native habitats or propagated in gardens.
Lotusland is is one such botanic garden and is home to over 950 species whose native populations are faced with habitat loss or over-collecting and are thus restricted from collection and international trade.
These plants are displayed at Lotusland in an effort to foster increased knowledge and appreciation of the importance of plants and the need for their conservation.
- For example, many species of cycads are known to be critically endangered by encroaching human development as well as the activities of unscrupulous collectors.
- The golden barrel cactus, one of the most widely cultivated cacti, has become one of the most critically endangered plants on the planet in its native habitat.
- The Chilean wine palm, one of the world’s longest-lived palms is also losing ground in its native habitat.
- All 450 species in the genus Aloe are “threatened with extinction” according to a world conservation organization.
Plant and Animal Biodiversity are the Keys to Survival
Biodiversity is the complex network of all life on Earth; plants, animals, insects, birds, fish, bacteria, fungi and their many associations with each other. Without sufficient diversity in our natural world, the network loses balance. Individual systems and populations may crash causing a domino effect, spreading the loss to more and more areas and populations.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Madame Walska began collecting her rare plants as early as 1950, long before the initiation of CITES. After her death, the board of trustees and staff committed to pursuing the highest standards of plant collection and display. Today Lotusland has received a CITES certificate and is an official official Plant Rescue Center for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.