This talk series explores the ways that plants and people interact through the lens of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Biocultural Collection. The objects in this collection, which range from simple carved wooden spoons to complex herbal compounds, are tangible evidence of the ways that plants and people interact. They are a valuable resource for understanding humanity’s biocultural heritage, and for the conservation of nature itself. They are also a means of preserving traditional knowledge, documenting livelihoods, and showing the lasting influence of ethnobotany on the diversity of human cultures.
"Brown Gold for a developing Irish nation – peat: an important plant-derived resource" with Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson
Peat – the remains of Sphagnum moss and other bogland plants – has been one of Ireland’s most important plant-derived natural resources for thousands of years.
A critical fuel source, peat has also been used for horticulture, as a dye, to preserve or store perishable materials (such as butter) and even to make paper. Peat also provides a valuable record of the past in Ireland, holding preserved pollen, plant material, artifacts and even human bodies from the earliest post-glacial times up to today.
In recent years, concern has grown about the impact of fossil fuels on climates. As many of the best and deepest peat resources have been exhausted, and as awareness of the need for the conservation of wild natural habitats develops, the Irish economy is weaning itself off the use of peat as a fuel source. Nevertheless peat usage through the ages remains an important cultural legacy of the Irish nation and deserves to be fully understood, recognized and celebrated as a remarkable but declining biocultural resource.
ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided, and this presentation will be recorded for later viewing on the Missouri Botanical Garden YouTube channel.