While species decline continues in Luxembourg, it is still largely unexplored how the plant world will cope with climate change. That's exactly what Scientists at the ‘natur musée’ are investigating using case studies.
Guy Colling picks a random volume and opens it. It shows a specimen of Luzula pilosa Willd from the Rümelingen area, dated May 1934. Why does the plant, also known as hairy woodrush, come to be honoured at this point?
It is one of more than 100,000 so-called herbarium specimens – dried and flat-pressed specimens of plants and fungi – in the meanwhile almost completely digitised and thus publicly accessible herbarium of the scientific research centre of the ‘Musée national d'histoire naturelle’ (MNHN) in the city's valley. In other words, it is the memory of the plant species documented in Luxembourg going back to the mid-19th century – including those that are now considered extinct in the Grand Duchy. And this list is growing.
One factor that has gained attention in the context of accelerated species decline in recent years is climate change. “I think that in the recent past, but also beyond that, there has been a growing awareness in the scientific community, that the two cannot be separated. The biodiversity crisis we are currently experiencing on the planet and the climate crisis are closely related”, says Dr Guy Colling from the ‘natur musée’. As part of research projects, the ‘Centre de recherche scientifique’ of the National Museum of Natural History is looking into the question of how plants adapt to climate change. So much in advance: there is no simple answer.
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