Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Regreening China clay pits at the Eden Project

Pentawan, Cornwall, UK

Our Cornwallian trilogy was made complete by a visit to the Eden Project, a highly popular tourist attraction dedicated explaining the relationship between people and plants to the general public. It was my third visit, and I was impressed by the sustained vigor of the tropical forest and Mediterranean biomes. Cultivated under geodesic domes on a former clay pit, the lush vegetation is criss-crossed by sloping paths that guide a constant flow of visitors, including over 7,000 on the day of our visit. We were fortunate to have Sir Ghillean Prance, scientific director of the Eden Project, accompany us on a leisurely tour of the grounds outside the domes and into the tropical forest biome. He reckons the greatest achievement of the Eden is revegetation of the barren slopes of the abandoned clay pit, which is now green with hundreds of plants that have stories to tell about food, medicine, fuel and other botanical products that sustain our life and livelihoods.

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