Preserving forests

The awareness of the importance of protecting the flora, the numerous and complex plant world, has grown over the last century. In particular, man has understood that vegetal biodiversity (i.e. the differences existing among the many vegetal species) is probably one of the greatest resources that mankind has been given by nature. So far, the scientists have classed over 250 thousand species of moss, ferns, conifers and blooming plants. But they believe there are over 50 thousand more species that have not been documented yet, especially in distant and almost unexplored Tropical forests.
Over the last century, specialised hybridisers and the large seed companies have been using this rich genetic heritage to create in a natural way, by suitably “cross-breeding” different plants, new high-yield varieties that have made modern farming much more productive. Many of the wild and ornamental species existing in nature are now preserved and protected in the 1,600 botanical gardens of the world. In addition, genetic banks for plants have been established and now preserve over 6 million samples of seed.
One day, these stocks of materials could come handy to produce new plant varieties that could be useful to man or to the environment. Botanical gardens and seed banks are indispensable conservation facilities, but they preserve, however, only a small portion of plant biodiversity compared to that that exists in nature. Vegetal biodiversity can actually be preserved with absolute certainty only by protecting the indigenous environments and ecosystems where the plants have evolved.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section

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    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

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    ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

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    Beech forest

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    Deforestation

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    Deforestation 2

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    Deforestation in the Amazon

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    Forest

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    ecosystems

    Medicines from the forest

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    life

    A bag of bananas!

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  • life

    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

    Look

    ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Deforestation 2

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation in the Amazon

    Look
  • life

    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look

Facts