Professor Sandra Diaz visits RBGE
The current state of nature, the intrinsic relationships between people and plants and the potential for positive routes forward were at the core of discourse in Alchemists and Gardeners – Why Care About Plants on Earth, the lecture delivered by Professor Sandra Diaz, recipient of the prestigious Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Medal, on Tuesday, March 14.
Having received the medal from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Regius Keeper Simon Milne at St Andrew’s House the previous day, Prof Diaz was welcomed to the Garden Dominic Fry, Chair of the Board of Trustees. As an internationally renowned plant ecologist at the forefront of efforts to understand the biodiversity crisis, her lecture attracted a diverse audience.
One of the most highly cited scientists in the world, Prof Diaz is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. She was also one of the co-chairs of the influential Global Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a landmark assessment with a key finding being that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
The excellence of Prof Diaz’s work has previously been acknowledged by the prestigious journal Nature, recognising her as one of the “Ten people who mattered in science” in 2019. She founded the world’s first and largest database of plant traits and has also worked on topics as diverse as the relationship between biodiversity and human well-being, effects of land-use on biodiversity, climate change threats to nature, and benefits to human society from biodiversity.
In 2020, Prof Diaz participated in the RBGE 350th panel discussion with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, focusing on Halting Plant Extinction. She is a Professor of Ecology at the National University of Córdoba, a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, and a senior member of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences of Argentina.
Image: Professor Diaz tours the Edinburgh Garden with (left to right): Dominic Fry (Chair of the Board of Trustees), William Hinchliffe (Arboricultural Supervisor), Simon Milne (Regius Keeper) and Pete Hollingsworth (Director of Science and Deputy Keeper).
Image: Professor Diaz delivers her lecture 'Alchemists and gardeners – why care about plants on Earth'
Main image: Professor Diaz receives the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Medal to recognise her contribution to plant ecology and conservation. Pictured with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Regius Keeper Simon Milne at St Andrew’s House.
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