Earth Optimism: Success Stories in Plant Conservation

  • Gary Krupnick National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Nancy Knowlton National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Keywords: Conservation, Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, recovery, restoration, success


Target 14 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation calls for an increase in the communication of the importance of plant diversity and conservation by education and public awareness programs. An unrelenting torrent of bad news about the environment and the loss of plant biodiversity, however, have led to despair among conservation practitioners and the public. Much of the damage to terrestrial habitats and the loss of plant biodiversity stem from problems that both biologists and the public can do something about. Indeed, the past decades have witnessed a growing number of successes in describing new species, saving species, protecting places, and restoring habitats. A number of plant species have come back from the brink of extinction and are being delisted. Priority areas for conservation are being identified and these areas are being established as protected nature reserves. Habitats once degraded by farming have been ecologically restored with native plant species. These and other examples underpin the Earth Optimism initiative that seeks to recognize, learn from, replicate, scale up, and celebrate our successes as a means to motivate further action.