The partnership forged between the three organizations aims to advance the study and conservation of biodiversity, build capacity for conserving threatened and endangered plant species, and promote education on wildlife conservation. To achieve these goals, the signatories will promote academic and staff exchange visits as well as collaborative field work and research. These interactions will include inventorying and collecting plants in natural areas throughout Sichuan and tracking the propagation and growing habits of rare species both inside and outside of China. The signing of the memorandum is a direct reflection of growing cooperation between the U.S. and China on studying and conserving biodiversity, and responding to threats posed by global climate change.
Since 1905, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University has partnered with Chinese botanists and naturalists in exploring and documenting the magnificent beauty and diversity of the flora of China, which bears strong evolutionary links with plants native to North America. The Arboretum and Huanglong Nature Preserve also serve as important plant conservation sites, preserving germplasm of wild populations of plants as a bulwark against extinction. This new partnership continues these legacies through enhanced scientific and cultural exchange, and begins as the Arboretum launches a 10-year initiative focused on reinvigorating the institution’s field work in exploring biodiversity as a natural history collection of Harvard University. The Arboretum’s Campaign for the Living Collections aspires to enhance the breadth, value, and impact of the Arboretum’s accessioned plants for research, horticultural development, and conservation.
At the MOU signing ceremony at Chengdu, Qi Ling expressed hope that the signing and implementation of the agreement will bring far-reaching and significant impact on the future of conservation in China and the further development of the Huanglong Nature Reserve. “This historic agreement comes at a critical moment in the race to document biodiversity as change around the globe accelerates,” remarked Arboretum Director Friedman. “The opportunity to work side by side with colleagues from Chengdu and Huanglong to promote a greater appreciation of the beauty and depth of China’s extraordinarily diverse flora is truly exciting.”
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and its partners in this agreement are all well-established research institutes dedicated to the conservation and study of plants. The Arnold Arboretum holds one of the most comprehensive and best-documented collections of temperate woody plants in the world—with particular emphasis on the flora of the eastern United States and eastern Asia—and has explored, collected, and studied the plants of China since the early 1900s. The Chengdu Institute of Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences specializes in studying the plants native to Sichuan Province. The Huanglong Nature Reserve, a World Natural Heritage site located in northern Sichuan, China, preserves a wide diversity of plants that are native to the transition zone lying between the subtropical mountains of eastern China and the Tibetan Plateau of western China.