Plants 2010 Conservation Initiative

Welcome to Plants

…the online resource for the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation established to support the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

There is a lot of support for plant conservation but more is always needed. Right now over 180 countries around the world are backing the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation or GSPC. It is alarming to discover 67% of the Earth’s plant species could be threatened by the end of the current century. Urgent actions need to be taken in order to prevent this catastrophe.

Plants and specific species of plants are vital for the existence of Earth’s delicate ecosystem. People do not realize how delicate it really is. It has taken millions of years to evolve to what it is today. It could be destroyed in a very short period of time if allowed to deteriorate.

So how important are plants on Earth?

Let’s take a look at what plants do:

  • Plants convert sun light into plant material or food. Think of all the meat that people consume. All those animals require plants for feed. Plants are the only food that livestock eat.
  • Plants produce oxygen. All animals need oxygen to survive. Plants also clean our air by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
  • Plants also reduce the Earth’s surface temperature by insulating the ground from the sun. You ask how? Let me ask you this question… Is grass cooler or hotter than sand in the middle of the summer? The more plant life on the surface of the Earth, the cooler the climate.
  • Plants provide a habitat for animals. Think about birds, squirrels, monkeys, insects, etc. Plants provide shelter and protection. Without plants these animals would perish.
  • Plants preserve and produce soil. Roots hold soil together and prevent erosion from water and wind. Dead plants, leaves, flowers and branches decompose and produce rich soil (compost) for new plants.
  • Plants make useful products for humans. Think about clothing (fibers). Cotton is used in most clothing today. Fibers from other plants are also used to weave fabrics and textiles. What about Paper? Wood is used heavily by humans….houses, furniture, boats, fishing rods, stocks on some pellet guns and rifles, paper, fuel, etc. Plants are also used for fuels to produce heat. Wood is still burned today in some countries to produce heat. Coal is derived from very old plant matter and used today by most countries for heat and electricty. Corn is also used to make ethanol fuels. Biodeiesel fuel is made from sunflower and other plant oils. “Green” household products such as Method and Greenworks brand cleaners, FrogLube CLP, Primal Earth cremes and moisturizers, Elmer’s School Glue, Green Earth G-Oil (motor Oil), are all made from plant oils/extracts.
  • Plants enrich our environment visually. We use plants to add beauty to our community. Think about houses without plants or parks and playgrounds without grass and trees.
  • Plants are used to make pesticides. Plant oils and extracts are toxic to some insects/pests. These “green” pesticides are biodegradable and very effective.
  • Plants are used in 25% of all prescription medicines. Aspirin is a copy or a modified form of a naturally occurring chemical found in the bark of a tree. Only 20% of all plant species have been investigated for their medicinal potential. Aloe has been used for centuries to heal wounds and other skin ailments.

Most people do not realize how import plants are…PLANTS are VITAL to our existence.