Kelly Ablard, USA

Plants in Peril: Essential oils and climate change

Kelly Ablard holds a Doctorate in Biology, an MSc in Conservation, and is a certified aromatherapist. As Director of the Airmid Institute, she is dedicated to the global education, research, and conservation and sustainable management of aromatic medicinal plants. She has presented and published peer-reviewed research on the conservation and sustainability of essential oil-bearing plants, chemical ecology, behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology and ethnobotany. She currently conducts research in Peru with the Shipibo and Quechua Indigenous peoples into their near-threatened and threatened aromatic medicinal plants.

Kelly sits on the Board of the United Plant Savers, and is co-owner of Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies.

Kelly says: "The sustainability of aromatic medicinal plants and their extracts, sourced for use throughout numerous industries worldwide, is inseparable from the threat to the global natural environment, and from factors that contribute to the ravages of climate change. Climate change, one of the biggest challenges to humankind, will lead to a further reduction in population sizes of globally-traded threatened essential oil-bearing plants such as Atlas cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) and Opopanax (Commiphora guidottii). The success of our ability to meet one of our greatest challenges will depend in part on how well we understand and conserve the existing biodiversity of medicinal aromatic plant species, and how effectively we can help mitigate the damage already done to these precious species through education, ethical sourcing and collaboration".