Speaking up for wild plants.
Ghost Orchid Declaration
The Ghost Orchid Declaration is a new report from Plantlife, which looks at the key issues affecting wild plant conservation and offers challenging solutions. It is a call to arms to governments, Members of Parliament, conservation organisations and the general public to ensure that we do not lose any more of our irreplaceable flora.
The Declaration was named after the Ghost Orchid, which had been declared extinct in 2005, but in 2009 Plantlife was delighted with the news that a dedicated amateur botanist had rediscovered a Ghost Orchid in Herefordshire. The species itself, however, remains an evocative emblem of the 1 in 5 of our wild flowers that are threatened with extinction. If we fail to focus attention on these fundamental building blocks of our countryside, then all our other wildlife will fail to thrive.
Why is it important?
Wild plants are the silent majority, the wallflowers at the biodiversity ball. They are the fundamental building blocks of our natural environment, sustaining us as well as the insects, birds and animals we cherish. Fresh air, clean water, carbon storage – all thanks to wild plants yet too often they are relegated to the role of scenic background to our more charismatic wildlife and their value is underestimated. The Ghost Orchid Declaration offers new and challenging solutions to conserve and secure the long-term survival of this precious resource.
- 1 in 5 wild flowers in Britain is threatened with extinction.
- Of the 1,150 priority species on the Government’s UK Biodiversity Action Plan, almost 50% are plants and fungi.
- Out of £4 million given in biodiversity research contracts by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee from 2007-2009, nothing went towards plant and fungi projects.
- Flowering plants and ferns are at the bottom of the Government’s league table for features in favourable condition on Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
- Despite a 5% increase in broadleaved woodland in the UK since 1990 – the diversity of woodland flowers has decreased by 19%.
- In England, less than 3% of Environmental Stewardship agreements have suitable options for farmland flowers.
- The places where the UK’s legally protected animals (including birds and invertebrates) live are also protected by law – but the places where legally protected plants live are not. Why is it OK to move plants but not OK to move water voles, bats or great crested newts?