Kabul University’s Faculty of Science officially opened the university’s herbarium today giving Afghanistan a new research tool for identifying and studying the country’s vulnerable botanical heritage.
Dr. Mir Azai, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Head of Kabul University’s Biology Department, joined with USAID Mission Director Earl Gast to officially open the new herbarium on the campus, along with officials from the Afghanistan National Environmental Protection Agency, Kabul University, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Pastoral Engagement, Adaption and Capacity Enhancement (PEACE) project, which is funded by the United States Government, through USAID.
Attendees viewed for the first time the results of the restoration of the herbarium, which will be used as a research tool for identifying and studying the botanical heritage of Afghanistan’s protected environment.
Afghanistan is a country of high biodiversity. To date, more than 3,800 species of plants have been documented country-wide, with 10 percent recognized as endemic. The university hopes that the new herbarium will raise awareness among the educational, developmental, and environmental communities of a resource once thought lost in Afghanistan.
“Restoration and protection of Afghanistan’s environment will be accomplished, in part, through improved education and research,” USAID Mission Director Earl Gast said. “Afghanistan is succeeding in educating its children so they will one day be prepared to conduct research and devise plans for managing Afghanistan’s natural environment. The restoration of the herbarium and the cataloging of plant specimen data within the herbarium provide one such tool to accomplish these goals.”