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The botanical education extinction and the fall of plant awareness

Stroud, S. ORCID:, Fennell, M., Mitchley, J., Lydon, S. ORCID:, Peacock, J. ORCID: and Bacon, K. L. ORCID: (2022) The botanical education extinction and the fall of plant awareness. Ecology and Evolution, 12 (7). e9019. ISSN 2045-7758

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ece3.9019


Civilization is dependent upon plants for survival. Plants permeate our every moment and our relationship with them will dictate how we will manage the threats of climate change and ecological collapse defining the Anthropocene. Yet, despite the significance of plants and the critical role they have played in shaping ecosystems, civilizations, and human cultures, many people are now disconnected from the botanical world. Students are presented with little plant content, particularly identification, compared with animal content. Consequently, we are producing few plant scientists and educating fewer scientists about plants. This drives a self-accelerating cycle we term . A process of knowledge erosion, that in this instance contributes to our separation from the natural world, makes us blind to the biodiversity crisis and inhibits our ability to restore it. We argue that neglecting the importance of plants within education threatens the foundations of industries and professions that rely on this knowledge. Furthermore, this extinction of botanical education creates an existential threat: Without the skills to fully comprehend the scale of and solutions to human-induced global change, how do we as a society combat it? We present key research agendas that will enable us to reverse the extinction of botanical education and highlight the critical role plants play on the global stage.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:106552


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