The Australian Tropical Herbarium (ATH) in Cairns is celebrating an important milestone today (Tuesday 21 April), with the Queensland Government, CSIRO and James Cook University signing an agreement that secures the Herbarium’s funding for the next 10 years.
The State Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Science and Innovation, Leeanne Enoch, will visit the Herbarium at JCU’s Cairns campus today for the official signing of the agreement.
“Thanks to this support, the Herbarium will continue its work on understanding the plants and fungi of tropical Australia and the region,” ATH Director Professor Darren Crayn said.
“This security of funding allows us to continue finding new species, as well as furthering our understanding of how the region’s plant species have evolved, how they are related, and the ancient migration pathways they have followed.
“It also enables us to continue the important work of our Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre, supporting Indigenous communities in researching, documenting, protecting and passing on their cultural plant knowledge.
“Traditional Owners have used plants for food, fibre, medicine, tools, utensils and weapons for many thousands of years, and are custodians of profound knowledge of their properties.”
The Australian Tropical Herbarium houses an extensive research collection of more than 180,000 dried plant specimens, including several specimens collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1770.
The collection also includes more than 14,000 plant samples preserved in fluid, and a comprehensive wood sample collection, which supports research into the structural and functional properties of timber.
“We’re very pleased to be keeping the collections, research facilities and botanical expertise here in the tropics, which has such a rich history of botanical study,” Professor Crayn said.
Issued: April 21, 2015
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