210 scientists highlight state of plants and fungi in Plants, People, Planet special issue
Five broad themes that encompass the State of the World’s Plants and Fungi report 2020 are featured in this stylised illustration. (a) Resources for exploring plant and fungal properties; (b) The influence of global biodiversity policy; (c) Unlocking the useful properties of plants and fungi; (d) UK and UK Overseas Territories; (e) New insights into global knowledge of plants and fungi. Credit: Plants, People, Planet

The Special Issue, ‘Protecting and sustainably using the world’s plants and fungi’, brings together the research—from 210 scientists across 42 countries—behind the 2020 State of the World’s Plants and Fungi report, also released today by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

This is the first time that over 200 scientists have come together and collaborated to deliver a vital update, not only on the status of the world’s plant life, but also the world’s fungi. Humanity’s existence and well-being depends on plants and fungi—from our food and energy, to our physical and mental health. The scientists’ findings plot a global roadmap that sets out what we must do to protect and sustainably use plants and fungi, now and in the future.

The data and expert opinion behind Kew’s report have, for the first time, been published in a landmark Plants, People, Planet Special Issue and are freely available to read and share. This Special Issue points the way forward for future research and conservation efforts around the world for the benefit of people and the sustainable future of our planet. It highlights the strength of researchers working together and the importance of collaboration between scientific journals and botanic gardens like RBG Kew.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Kew to publish the scientific papers behind the State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2020 report,” said Prof. Simon Hiscock, Editor in Chief of Plants, People, Planet. “Plants, People, Planet was founded to highlight how fundamentally important plants are to people and all life on Earth. We embrace Kew’s transformative agenda to curate, conserve and explore the world’s plant and fungal diversity as outlined in this landmark collection,” he added.

“The data in this year’s report paint a picture of a world that has turned its back on the incredible potential of the plant and fungal kingdoms to address some of the biggest challenges we face,” said Professor Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. “We have particularly earmarked the gaps in our knowledge, the changes we are seeing, the species being named new to science and the shocking pace of biodiversity loss.”

“The rigour and collaborative nature of the scientific work underlying the articles in the New Phytologist Foundation’s Plants, People, Planet, which accompany the State of the World’s Plants and Fungi report, is testimony to the incredible wealth of knowledge that exists and is now being brought to surface,” added Professor Antonelli. “This has been a truly fantastic and rewarding collaboration; Plants, People, Planet is a prestigious journal that shares Kew’s mission and provides free access to its contents for the benefit of all. I hope this work will help inform decisions here in the UK and all over the world as we start the most critical decade our planet has ever faced”.

Using the research included in the Plants, People, Planet Special Issue we can understand and make use of the full extent of plant and fungal diversity while recognising the threats to their survival, so that we can halt biodiversity loss and unlock its full potential.

New database reveals plants’ secret relationships with fungi

More information:
Alexandre Antonelli et al, Protecting and sustainably using the world’s plants and fungi, PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET (2020). DOI: 10.1002/ppp3.10150

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