News Release

WWT - IUCN partnership will help plants and wetlands

21 March 2013
Baldellia ranunculoides subspecies repens
Photo: Richard Lansdown

A new partnership has been agreed between the IUCN SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group (FPSG) and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) that will improve wetland conservation and help save threatened plants.

Through the agreement, WWT will support the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Freshwater Plant Specialist Group to further the research and conservation of wetland-dependant plants around the world, whilst benefitting from access to a wealth of specialist knowledge.

“Plants are fundamental building blocks of our wetlands and an increasing number of species are under threat, so I’m really pleased that we will be working closely with the FPSG,” said Rob Shore, Head of Wetland Conservation at WWT.

“From managing our own wetlands, we know it is critical to create the conditions for native plants to thrive so they support the diversity of other life that is found in wetlands – from invertebrates right through to birds and mammals," continued Rob Shore. “If we get that right, the whole rich mix of wetland species largely falls into place. But if it goes wrong, the system rapidly falls apart, which is why, for instance, we are so concerned about the impact of non-native aquatic plants on the wildlife of our wetlands. This is a field that will really benefit from our new partnership.”

The proposal by Richard Lansdown, Chair of the FPSG, to establish the Specialist Group was supported by the Fondation Tour du Valat and Plantlife International and was unanimously approved by the IUCN SSC. Richard is delighted that WWT has agreed to host the FPSG.

Iris pseudacorus. Photo: Richard Lansdown

“Hosting by WWT will help the FPSG reach a wider audience, whilst the expertise of WWT staff will enable the FPSG to be better informed and more effective with practical conservation on the ground,” said Richard Lansdown.

The FPSG will bring additional focus onto all vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, lichens and fungi which depend upon wetlands, from lakes, rivers and marshes to permanent and temporary ponds. As a collaboration of wetland scientists from more than 50 countries, including botanists, soil scientists, hydrologists, ecologists and geologists, the Specialist Group is encouraging people from all aspects of wetland conservation to consider becoming a member.

The IUCN SSC network is made up of scientists from all over the world, working together to conserve biodiversity. Sir Peter Scott, founder of WWT, was the first ever chair of the IUCN SSC when it was created in 1962 and conceived the Red Data Books which are the foundation of modern global conservation.

To this day WWT is closely involved in the IUCN SSC, chairing three Specialist Groups, on flamingos, ducks and threatened waterfowl, and now as host of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group.


For more information contact:

Richard Lansdown, Chair of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group


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