Realising the potential of plant bioresources as nature-based solutions in African biodiversity hotspots (TIPAs project)
Countries: Ethiopia, Guinea, Sierra Leone
Partners: UK: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew; Ethiopia: Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, Hawassa University, Addis Ababa University; Sierra Leone: Njala University; International: Biodiversity International, CIAT.
Summary: More than 31,000 useful plant species have historically been documented to fulfil needs and services for humans, yet today in our food systems, we derive >50% of calories from just three crops, rice, wheat and maize. Sustainable exploitation of the diverse library of underutilized species and bioresources – including timber, medicines and valuable chemicals – represents an untapped opportunity to alleviate poverty, develop value chains, and tackle food insecurity, whilst being underpinned by nature conservation. These nature-based opportunities lie predominantly in tropical high-biodiversity countries and offer significant climate alleviation and biodiversity co-benefits. This project seeks to accelerate Kew’s efforts to identify and characterise high-value plant biodiversity hotspots, in three strategic tropical high-biodiversity countries, and pathways to develop bioresources within them. It aims to demonstrate both the economic and ecosystem service benefits of plant bioresources at both the local community and national level.