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Only a green world, rich in plants, can sustain us and the millions of other species with which we share this planet. But, in an era of global change, nature is on the retreat. Like the communities they form, many plant species are becoming rarer, threatened even to the point of extinction. The worldwide community of almost three thousand botanic gardens are holders of the most diverse living collections of plants and have the unique potential to conserve plant diversity. Conservation biology is a fast moving and often controversial field, and, as the contributions within these pages from experts in the field demonstrate, plant conservation is multifaceted, mirroring the complexity of the biodiversity it aims to protect, and striving not just to protect threatened plants but to preserve ecosystem services and secure the integrity of the biosphere.
This very welcome addition to the literature on the structure and evolution of flowers provides a valuable and practical new perspective on a classical botanical theme. It focuses on the relationships between flower structure and the evolutionary diversification of plants as reflected in the latest system of classification.
Floral diagrams provide one of the best examples of the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. They provide a stylised system for describing and communicating the arrangement of floral organs with great simplicity, regardless of the structural complexity of the particular flower. It is therefore no surprise that floral diagrams have stood the test of time and remain as effective today as when they first began to be used. The German botanist August W. Eichler is generally credited with their introduction in the late nineteenth century and they were rapidly adopted, soon becoming a familiar feature of numerous botanical textbooks. Eichler was also a pioneer in the field of classification of flowering plants and one of the first botanists to base a system of classification upon evolutionary principles. Whilst the utility of floral diagrams has remained unchanged since their invention, we now use very different methods to establish the evolutionary relationships between different groups. For most of the twentieth century plant classification relied on the comparison of morphological characters and numerous different schemes competed for attention. The advent of classifications based upon the analysis of DNA sequence data rather than on traditional morphological characters resulted in revolutionary advances.
Clinical samples have identified a number of psychosocial risk factors
for suicidal acts but it is unclear if these findings relate to the
To describe the prevalence of and psychosocial risk factors for suicidal
acts in a general adult population.
Data were obtained from a Canadian epidemiological survey of 36 984
respondents aged 15 years and older (weighted sample
n=23 662 430).
Of these respondents, 0.6% (weighted n=130 143) endorsed
a 12-month suicidal act. Female gender (OR=4.27, 95% CI 4.05–4.50), being
separated (OR=37.88, 95% CI 33.92–42.31) or divorced (OR=7.79, 95% CI
7.22–8.41), being unemployed (OR=1.70, 95% CI 1.50–1.80), experiencing a
chronic physical health condition (OR=1.70, 95% CI 1.67–1.86) and
experiencing a major depressive episode in the same 12-month period as
the act (OR=9.10, 95% CI 8.65–9.59) were significantly associated with a
The psychosocial correlates of suicidal acts in this sample are
consistent with those previously reported in clinical and general
population samples. These findings reinforce the importance of the
determination of suicide risk and its prevention not only of psychiatric
illness but of physical and psychosocial factors as well.
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