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The value of plant conservation


Narrator:       This is Science Today. The Botanical Garden at the University of California, Berkeley, is a scientific collection of plants from around the world. Curator Holly Forbes says an important mission of the Botanical Garden is conservation and the prevention of plant extinction.

Forbes:           And you might ask well, why? So what? You know, things go extinct naturally through an evolutionary process. But as humans have taken over the globe in large numbers, the rate of extinction has gone up exponentially. We would like to give them the benefit of a chance to keep going and part of it is that every component of the ecosystem plays a role. Just because we don't right now understand what that role is doesn't mean it's not important. And at some point if we lose enough pieces from each ecosystem, it may just collapse and not function at all and that's not good for us.

Narrator:       The Botanical Garden is a member of the Center for Plant Conservation, a national consortium of gardens dedicated to preventing plant extinction in the United States.  For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.