Gardens Curator Tom Price and Arboretum Curator Ben Jones have embarked on their four week field trip to Japan. This, the first of two trips, is part of a project to develop the living collections at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum and the University of Oxford Herbaria.
Japan is one of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots. Collectively these areas hold over 50% of all known plant species, yet cover only 2.3% of the Earth's land surface. The aim of this project is to cultivate plants from Japan at both the Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum to communicate the importance of these biodiversity hotspots and the need for both in situ and ex situ conservation.
The department is working in collaboration with the Department of Plant Sciences at Oxford, the University of Bonn Botanic Garden and botanic gardens across Japan.
This first trip involves travelling the length and breadth of Japan. From Hokkaido in the north to Shikoku in the south, via Tokyo, Niigata, Toyama and Kyoto. At each stop meetings are being held with botanic garden staff to establish seed collection sites of endemic plant species. These sites will be revisited in 2013 for the collection of seed and supporting herbarium specimens.
The Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum are extremely grateful to the Impey family for their generous donation and to the Friends of the Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum whose collective generosity has funded this trip.
Tom and Ben will be posting regular updates here on their progress over the next four weeks. Watch this space!