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The botanical education extinction and the fall of plant awareness

Stroud, Sebastian; Fennell, Mark; Mitchley, Jonathan; Lydon, Susannah; Peacock, Julie; Bacon, Karen L.

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Sebastian Stroud

Mark Fennell

Jonathan Mitchley

Julie Peacock

Karen L. Bacon


Civilization is dependent upon plants for survival. Plants permeate our every moment and our relationship with them will dictate how we will manage the threats of climate change and ecological collapse defining the Anthropocene. Yet, despite the significance of plants and the critical role they have played in shaping ecosystems, civilizations, and human cultures, many people are now disconnected from the botanical world. Students are presented with little plant content, particularly identification, compared with animal content. Consequently, we are producing few plant scientists and educating fewer scientists about plants. This drives a self-accelerating cycle we term the extinction of botanical education. A process of knowledge erosion, that in this instance contributes to our separation from the natural world, makes us blind to the biodiversity crisis and inhibits our ability to restore it. We argue that neglecting the importance of plants within education threatens the foundations of industries and professions that rely on this knowledge. Furthermore, this extinction of botanical education creates an existential threat: Without the skills to fully comprehend the scale of and solutions to human-induced global change, how do we as a society combat it? We present key research agendas that will enable us to reverse the extinction of botanical education and highlight the critical role plants play on the global stage.


Stroud, S., Fennell, M., Mitchley, J., Lydon, S., Peacock, J., & Bacon, K. L. (2022). The botanical education extinction and the fall of plant awareness. Ecology and Evolution, 12(7), Article e9019.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 10, 2022
Publication Date Jul 1, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 16, 2022
Journal Ecology and Evolution
Electronic ISSN 2045-7758
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 7
Article Number e9019
Keywords Nature and Landscape Conservation; Ecology; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 2022-01-13; Accepted: 2022-05-12; Published: 2022-07-10


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