Yesterday Mark Watson and Colin Pendry met the President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, at the President’s Office in Shital Niwas, Kathmandu. During the one-hour meeting Mark and Colin discussed with the President Scotland and RBGE’s 210-year connection with Nepal*, RBGE’s internationally renowned plant biodiversity research programme in the Himalayan region, their current work on the Flora of Nepal, and opportunities for future collaborative projects.
The President is a strong supporter of the conservation of Nepalese biodiversity, and has a major interest in the Churia hills and other lowland areas, as he has personally witnessed the loss of forests and the long term impact this has had on people’s livelihoods.
Mark and Colin are in Nepal for the 5th International Editorial Meeting of the Flora of Nepal, and an associated training programme for Nepalese authors engaged on Flora of Nepal. They are teaming up with staff in the partner organisations in Nepal (Nepal Academy of Science and Technology; Department of Plant Resources, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation; and Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University), and Hiroshi Ikeda from Tokyo University.
*Dr Francis Buchanan-Hamilton made the first scientific natural history collections in Nepal during his stay in the Kathmandu Valley as surgeon to the Knox mission to Nepal in 1802-3. Buchanan-Hamilton was taught botany at RBGE by Prof. John Hope in the early 1780s, as part of his medical decree at University of Edinburgh, and today he is known as the ‘Father of Nepalese Botany’.