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Taiwan to save plants on Solomon Islands

2012/06/16 13:33:48

Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan will launch a plant preservation project on the Solomon Islands this summer to help the Asian-Pacific ally protect its biodiversity, a professor at National Tsing Hua University said.

Li Chia-wei said it is time for Taiwan to share its rich experience in plant preservation with countries that are on the verge of ecosystem collapse.

"This, however, is a race against time," he said, explaining that the unique biodiversity of the Solomon Islands is in grave danger because of harms done by deforestation and global warming.

With assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Museum of Natural Science, Li said he intends to export Taiwan's preservation knowledge to rescue the more than 6,000 species of plants in the island nation.

Five years ago, the editor-in-chief of Taiwan's Scientific American magazine initiated a preservation campaign in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County which helped keep the bloodline of plants alive by nurturing about 20,000 diversified plants in a greenhouse. The success has made him more ambitious in introducing the scheme to others in need.

This August, not only will a greenhouse be shipped to the Solomon Islands, Li's doctoral students will also fly there to set up a lab for long-term preservation work. The results will be published to raise people's awareness about the importance of preserving nature's diversity.

As if the project is not big enough, Li said he is also in talks with officials in Sao Tome and Principe about a plan to jointly preserve plant seeds in the country before it turns into another Solomon Islands.

"The pressure to develop will accelerate at any time so it is important to help them set up a preservation strategy before it happens," he said.

In a trip to Sao Tome and Principe in coming weeks, Li said his mission will be to call on government officials there to understand how he and his team can be of help.

(By Nancy Liu)