Many plant species are of direct importance for human survival and well-being, providing most of our food as well as a huge diversity of other products and services, from timber, fibers, and medicines to clean water and erosion control. Numerous other species provide indirect benefits through their contributions to the maintenance of terrestrial ecosystems. Moreover, every plant species is the product of millions of years of successful evolutionary adaptation and thus forms an irreplaceable part of the Earth’s natural heritage. Plant diversity is now threatened by habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, invasive species, pollution, and climate change. Saving every plant species is a huge task, but it is not an impossible one if given a high enough priority. In recent decades, botanical gardens have built on their long history of studying the diversity and uses of plants by becoming leaders in plant conservation, locally, regionally, and globally. There have been some successes, but the threats are still accelerating and the future is uncertain. We therefore need to discuss how our gardens can work individually and in regional and global networks to stop the loss of plant diversity.
The Xishuangbanna International Symposium, held every five years, aims to bring together leading scientists to present cutting-edge research, address current debates, and assess future directions for research and action on biodiversity conservation and botanical gardens. The 1st Xishuangbanna International Symposium, attended by 180 delegates from 20 countries, was held in January 1999, and focused on “Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development”. The 2nd Xishuangbanna International Symposium was held in January 2009, with the major theme of “Biodiversity Conservation: Research Imperative for Scientific Institutions”. The 3rd Xishuangbanna International Symposium was held in January 2014, with major theme: “Botanical Gardens and Climate Change”. The Xishuangbanna International Symposium is becoming an important platform, bringing scholars from all over the world.
The 4th Xishuangbanna International Symposium, to be held on 3-4th January 2019, will feature the major theme: “Saving all the plants in a changing world”. The ultimate aim of the Symposium is to provide some of the solutions for saving plant diversity and to assess how botanical gardens can play a key role in plant conservation. In order to achieve this, we will review the frontiers of conservation science, the development of institutional policy, the educational role of botanical gardens, and current progress in plant conservation.
The symposium program will include six major sessions. Each session will feature two keynote speakers. We also invite participants to contribute posters during the symposium.
The Academic and Organizing Committees warmly invite you to participate in the 4th Xishuangbanna International Symposium – Saving All the Plants in a Changing World, and also encourage you to forward our invitation to other people who may be interested.