Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Kew Gardens funding cuts are a disaster

15 April, 2014 - 11:16 -- John Burton

The Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) in Kew, London, are under threat. Cuts in funding mean that up to 120 jobs could be lost.

This is a disaster for anyone involved in conservation and science. RBG holds what is possibly the most important herbarium (collection of dried plants) in the world, as well as a magnificent collection of living plants, a world class seed bank and other priceless collections and libraries. All these need proper curation and resourcing. And they also need to be used by scientists. If a nation can afford to spend hundreds of millions on armaments, surely it can afford a few million on maintaining a world class botanical resource.

At World Land Trust (WLT), we know how important the resources at Kew are. By permission of the Director of RBG, next month we are holding our 25th Anniversary Partners Symposium, in the Jodrell Building at Kew, which offers great facilities and an ideal location for such a gathering. Botanists from Kew will be able to meet with our partner representatives, and discuss future collaboration and research projects.

We in Britain often tell politicians in tropical countries that rainforests are an international heritage that they have a responsibility to conserve. In turn, we need to tell our own politicians that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew are an international heritage that Britain has a moral responsibility not only to conserve, but to continue to develop.

There is an online petition, please show your support.


Submitted by Colin Wilson on

This country needs to be a leader in some things and this is one thing it has been proud of and has added real value to in the past. Yes, we need to make financial cuts but let's not do it to scientific resources that are so important.

Submitted by Dominic Belfield on

It has to be a telling fact that, while we are about to cut essential scientific and botanical posts because the nation needs to make savings to bail out the bankers for screwing up on a geological scale, we note that Barclays Bank are STILL angling to pay out whacking great bonuses even when profits are falling!

Bonuses when profits are high; bonuses when profits flatline; bonuses when profits tank. Someone explain to me - what part of this constitutes "free market capitalism" - as opposed to a grubby little stitch-up for instance?

For the record - Kew Gardens has never imperilled the economic prospects of this country. It is a world leader. People LIKE it. It does some good. So let's have the Chancellor cut it...

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