Kew Gardens in London, with its vast collection of over 30,000 plant species, plays a crucial role in understanding and safeguarding plants for future generations. Satellite imagery can offer valuable benefits to botanical gardens in fulfilling their mission of biodiversity preservation.
Benefits to Biodiversity
Satellite imagery can provide botanical gardens with a powerful tool for safeguarding botanical collections. It can help in mapping and monitoring vegetation patterns, identifying areas of concern and assessing environmental changes over time. By leveraging satellite imagery, decision-makers can gain a deeper understanding of the impact of climate change on plant species and implement effective conservation strategies. Satellite imagery plays a vital role in supporting ongoing research, education and conservation efforts, ensuring the preservation of our planet's rich botanical heritage.
History of Kew Gardens
Since its establishment in 1759, Kew Gardens has made a significant contribution to the study of plant diversity and economic botany. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003, today it welcomes two million visitors each year. The renowned herbarium within Kew Gardens houses an astounding seven million specimens and is also the site of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, the largest ex situ plant conservation initiative in the world. Additionally, the Kew Gardens Library is a treasure trove with over 750,000 volumes and 175,000 drawings and prints.
During the 19th century, plant collections gathered from across the British empire led to significant introductions of various plants outside of the UK. Malaysia saw the introduction of rubber, while cinchona found its way to Latin America and India, and Sri Lanka welcomed coffee, among other examples.
Kew Gardens features several impressive greenhouses that recreate specific climates from around the world:
- Palm House, which houses a remarkable collection of palm trees and diverse tropical trees,
- Temperate House dedicated to plants from humid subtropical and Mediterranean climates,
- Princess of Wales Conservatory, inaugurated by Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, in July 1987 which features ten computer-controlled climatic sections,
- Waterlily House, the hottest and wettest greenhouse, home to giant water lilies including the Victoria Cruziana