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  • You know, it's a big privilege for me

    在世界上生物多樣性最豐富的地方工作

  • to be working in one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world:

    是我極大的榮幸

  • the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.

    這個地方位於印度洋的馬斯克林群島

  • These islandsMauritius, Rodrigues, andunion

    這些群島包括:模里西斯、 羅德里格斯島和留尼旺群島

  • along with the island of Madagascar,

    以及馬達加斯加島

  • they are blessed with unique plants

    這些島嶼有著獨一無二的植物

  • found nowhere else in the world.

    你在其他地方不可能找得到

  • And today I will tell you about five of them

    今天我將向你們介紹其中五種植物

  • and their particular features

    包括它們特殊的特徵

  • and why these plants are so unique.

    以及它們如此特別的原因

  • Take a look at this plant.

    我們先來看看這種植物

  • I call it benjoin in the local vernacular,

    當地人稱它為安息香

  • and the botanical name is Terminalia bentzoe,

    它的植物學名叫欖仁葉

  • subspecies bentzoe.

    是欖仁樹屬的次級種類

  • This subspecies is endemic to Mauritius,

    這種植物為模里西斯特有植物

  • and its particular feature

    而它的特徵就是

  • is its heterophylly.

    它的異形葉性

  • What do I mean by heterophylly?

    什麼是異形葉性呢?

  • It's that the same plant

    就是指說在同一株植物中

  • has got leaves that are different shapes and sizes.

    有許多不同形狀和大小的葉子

  • Now, these plants have evolved

    如今這些植物都經過進化

  • very far away from the mainland,

    已經遠離了大陸

  • and within specific ecosystems.

    而且只存在於特定的生態系中

  • Often, these particular features

    通常這些特徵

  • have evolved as a response to the threat

    都進化為一種激烈反應

  • presented by the local fauna,

    以此應對當地動物的威脅

  • in this case, grazing tortoises.

    在這裡指的就是食草性的陸龜

  • Tortoises are known to have poor eyesight,

    陸龜的視力很差

  • and as such, they tend to avoid the plants

    所以它們會盡量避免

  • they don't recognize.

    那些它們無法辨認的植物

  • So this evolutionary foil safeguards the plant

    所以這種進化的葉子保護植物

  • against these rather cute animals,

    防止它們被這類動物吃掉

  • and protects it and of course ensures its survival.

    也就更加確保其存活率

  • Now the question you're probably asking yourself is,

    現在你心裡的疑問來了

  • why is she telling us all these stories?

    她為何要說這些故事呢?

  • The reason for that is that we tend to overlook

    原因是,我們常常忽略

  • the diversity and the variety of the natural world.

    自然世界中的多樣性

  • These particular habitats are unique

    這些自然棲息地獨一無二

  • and they are host to a whole lot of plants.

    它們是無數植物賴以生長的家

  • We don't realize how valuable

    我們沒有意識到

  • and how precious these resources are,

    這些資源是多麼有價值且珍貴

  • and yet, through our insouciance,

    我們甚至仍毫不在乎地

  • we keep on destroying them.

    繼續破壞它們

  • We're all familiar

    我們都非常熟悉

  • with the macro impact of urbanization,

    城市化所帶來的巨大衝擊

  • climate change, resource exploitation,

    氣候變遷、資源掠奪

  • but when that one last plant

    但唯有當最後一種植物

  • or animal for that matter

    或是最後一種動物

  • when that very last specimen

    最後一個樣本

  • has disappeared from the face of this Earth,

    從地球上消失以後

  • we would have lost

    我們就真的失去

  • an entire subset of the Earth's biology,

    一個完整的地球生物體系

  • and with it, important plants with medicinal potential

    在這套體系中有著 潛在醫療價值的重要植物

  • or which could have ingredients

    或是植物中的成分

  • that would speak to the cosmetic,

    本來可以用於化妝品

  • nutrition, pharma,

    營養品、製藥品

  • and even the ethno-veterinary sectors,

    甚至是獸醫用的方針

  • be gone forever.

    都將消失而永不復見

  • And here we have a very prime example

    這裡有個典型的例子

  • of the iconic dodo, which comes from Mauritius,

    具有代表性的模里西斯渡渡鳥

  • and, of course, we know is now a symbol of extinction.

    當然,現在牠已是 一個物種滅絕的象徵

  • We know plants have a fundamental role to play.

    我們都知道植物扮演著 一個很重要的角色

  • Well, first of all, they feed us

    首先,它是我們的食物

  • and they also give us the oxygen we breathe,

    它們也提供我們呼吸的氧氣

  • but plants are also the source

    而植物同時也提供很多

  • of important, biologically active ingredients

    重要且具有生物活性的成分

  • that we should be studying very carefully,

    因此值得我們仔細研究

  • because human societies over the millennia,

    因為人類社會經過幾千年

  • they have developed important knowledge,

    已經發展出許多重要的知識

  • cultural traditions,

    不同的文化傳統

  • and important plant-based medicinal resources.

    以及重要醫療用的植物資源

  • Here's a data point:

    數據顯示

  • 1.4 percent of the entire land surface

    全球地表上的 1.4%

  • is home to 40 percent of the species of higher plants,

    生長著 40% 的高等植物

  • 35 percent of the species of vertebrates,

    35% 的脊椎動物

  • and this 1.4 percent

    而這 1.4% 的土地代表著

  • represents the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world,

    世界上 25 個生物多樣性最豐富的地方

  • and this 1.4 percent of the entire land surface

    而全球陸地上的 1.4%

  • already provides for 35 percent

    提供了 35%

  • of the ecosystem services

    我們脆弱人類最賴以生存的

  • that vulnerable people depend on.

    生態系統服務

  • And as you can see,

    就如同你們所看到的

  • the island of Mauritius

    模里西斯群島

  • where I work and where I live,

    就是我工作和生活的地方

  • belongs to one such biodiversity hotspot,

    這裡正屬於物種大熔爐的地方之一

  • and I study the unique plants

    而我研究的正是島上 這些獨一無二的植物

  • on the island for their biomedical applications.

    作為生物醫療方面的應用

  • Now, let's go back again

    現在,讓我們回去看

  • to that first plant I showed you,

    我給你們看的第一種植物

  • the one, of course, with different-shaped leaves

    這個有著不同形狀和大小的葉子植物

  • and different sizes, Terminalia bentzoe,

    欖仁葉

  • subspecies bentzoe,

    屬於欖仁樹屬的次級種類

  • a plant only found in Mauritius.

    是模里西斯所獨有的植物

  • Now, the local people,

    現在,模里西斯的當地居民

  • they used a decoction of the leaves

    他們用這種葉子煎藥

  • against infectious diseases.

    以治療感染疾病

  • Now our work, that is,

    而我們的工作就是

  • the scientific validation of this traditional information,

    透過科學的方法 來驗證這種傳統醫療方式

  • has shown that precisely

    以恰好證明

  • that leaf extract shows activity, potent activity,

    這些葉子的提取物證明他們的活性

  • against a wide range of bacteria

    可以用來對付許多

  • that could be pathogenic to humans.

    使人類致病的細菌

  • Now, could this plant be the answer

    現在,這種植物能解決

  • to antibiotic resistance?

    抗生素耐藥性的問題嗎?

  • You know, antibiotic resistance is proving to be

    抗生素耐藥性正是

  • a big challenge globally.

    一個全球所面臨的巨大挑戰

  • While we may not be sure, one thing is certain:

    儘管我們還不確定 但有一點是無庸置疑的

  • we will not want this plant to disappear.

    我們一定不能讓這些植物消失

  • But the harsh reality is that

    但殘酷的事實是

  • this particular plant is in fact

    實際上這種特定的植物

  • considered to be vulnerable

    在它的自然原生棲息地中

  • in its natural habitat.

    是非常脆弱的

  • This brings me to another example.

    我們來看另外一個例子

  • This bush here is known as baume de l'ile plate

    這些灌木被當地人稱為

  • in the local vernacular.

    小島香油膏

  • The botanical name is Psiadia arguta.

    植物學名叫做菊科毛國木菊

  • It's a plant which is rare,

    這種植物非常稀少

  • which is endemic to Mauritius.

    是模里西斯特有的植物

  • It used to grow on the mainland,

    它以前生長在大陸上

  • but through the sheer pressures of urbanization

    但是由於城市化帶來的種種壓力

  • has been pushed out of the mainland,

    在大陸上已經再也見不到它了

  • and we've managed to bring it back

    而我們設法使它從滅絕的邊緣中

  • from the brink of extinction

    死灰復燃

  • by developing in vitro plants

    透過人工培育

  • which are now growing in the wild.

    讓它重新在野外開始生長

  • Now, one thing I must point out straightaway

    但我必須說清楚一點

  • is that not all plants

    那就是並不是所有的植物

  • can be developed in vitro.

    都能透過人工培育重新復育

  • While we humans, we are happy in our comfort zone,

    正如同我們人類 快樂地待在舒適圈一樣

  • these plants also need

    這些植物也需要

  • their ecosystem to be preserved,

    合適的生態環境

  • and they don't reactendemic plants

    而本地植物往往

  • don't react to very harsh changes in their ecosystem,

    對生態環境的劇烈變化反應遲鈍

  • and yet we know what are the challenges

    然而我們並不知道

  • that climate change, for example,

    除了氣候變遷

  • is posing to these plants.

    植物的生存環境還面臨了那些挑戰

  • Now, the local people again use the leaves

    現在,當地居民依然用這些樹葉

  • in traditional medicine

    根據最傳統醫藥的方式

  • against respiratory problems.

    來治療呼吸道的疾病

  • Now, our preliminary labwork

    我們對葉子的提取物進行研究

  • on the leaf extract has shown

    結果初步顯示

  • that precisely these leaves contain ingredients

    這些葉子的成分

  • that are very close, in terms of structures,

    從化學結構式來看

  • chemical structures, to those medicines

    和藥店裡面所賣的

  • which are sold in the chemist's shop

    那些抗氣喘的藥

  • against asthma.

    是非常相近的

  • So who knows

    所以沒有人知道

  • what humanity will benefit from

    人類會從這些植物當中

  • should this plant decide to reveal all its secrets.

    獲得多少的益處

  • Now, I come from the developing world

    我來自發展中國家

  • where we are forever being challenged with this issue

    我們一直面臨著

  • of population explosion.

    人口爆炸的挑戰

  • Africa is the continent which is getting younger,

    非洲人口正變得越來越多

  • and whenever one talks about population explosion,

    每當人們提到人口爆炸的時候

  • one talks about the issue of food security

    總會提到食物短缺的問題

  • as being the other side of the same coin.

    就像是一枚硬幣的兩面一樣

  • Now this plant here, the baobab,

    這個植物名稱叫做猴麵包樹

  • could be part of the answer.

    也許會是解決方案

  • It's an underutilized, neglected food plant.

    它被忽視且未被完全開發利用

  • It defines the landscape of West Africa,

    它構成了西非的風景線

  • where it is known as the tree of life,

    被視為是生命之樹

  • and later on I will tell you why

    稍後我會解釋

  • the Africans consider it to be the tree of life.

    非洲人稱之為生命之樹的原因

  • Now interestingly, there are many legends

    很多很有趣的傳奇

  • which are associated with this plant.

    關於這種植物的故事

  • Because of its sheer size,

    主要是因為它的巨大體型

  • it was meant to be lording over lesser plants,

    使它稱霸其他比它小的植物

  • so God didn't like this arrogance,

    這種狂妄惹惱了上帝

  • uprooted it, and planted it upside down,

    因此將它連根拔起 以倒頭栽的方式種植它

  • hence its particular shape.

    也就形成了它獨特的形狀

  • And if you look at this tree again

    而若我們以非洲的角度

  • within the African context,

    來看這種樹

  • in West Africa, it's known as the palaver tree,

    在西非,它被稱為「談判樹」

  • because it performs great social functions.

    因為它具有重要的社交功能

  • Now if you have a problem in the community,

    如果部落裡面有什麼麻煩

  • meeting under the palaver tree

    他們就會和酋長或族人

  • with the chiefs or the tribesmen

    在談判樹下碰面協商

  • would be synonymous to trying to find a solution

    就如同他們正一起努力

  • to that particular problem,

    去解決那個特定的問題

  • and also to reinforce trust and respect

    這麼做也更加強化

  • among members of the community.

    部落之間彼此的信任和尊重

  • From the scientific point of view,

    從科學的角度來看

  • there are eight species of baobab in the world.

    世界上有八種不同種類的猴麵包樹

  • There's one from Africa,

    一種來自非洲

  • one from Australia,

    一種來自澳洲

  • and six are endemic

    另外六種則是

  • to the island of Madagascar.

    馬達加斯加島的地方特有種

  • The one I have showed you

    我給你們看的這種

  • is the one from Africa,

    是來自非洲的

  • Adansonia digitata.

    叫做非洲猴麵包樹

  • Now, the flower, this beautiful white flower,

    現在這種漂亮的白花

  • it opens at night, is pollinated by bats,

    它在夜晚綻放,經由蝙蝠受粉

  • and it gives rise to the fruit

    最後結出果實

  • which is curiously known

    而很有創意地被稱為

  • as the monkey apple.

    猴蘋果

  • The monkeys are not stupid animals.

    猴子非常聰明

  • They know what's good for them.

    牠們知道這種果實很好吃

  • Now, if you open the fruit of the baobab,

    如果把猴麵包樹的果實打開

  • you'll see a white, floury pulp,

    就會看到白色粉狀的果肉

  • which is very rich in nutrients

    這些果肉非常具有營養價值

  • and has got protein,

    且含有大量蛋白質

  • more protein than in human milk.

    甚至比人奶所含的蛋白質更豐富

  • Yes, you heard right:

    是的,你沒有聽錯

  • more protein than in human milk.

    比人奶所含的蛋白質更豐富

  • And this is one of the reasons why

    這也是為什麼世界上

  • the nutrition companies of this world,

    那些做營養品的公司

  • they are looking for this fruit to provide

    都積極尋找以獲取這類果實

  • what we know as reinforced food.

    以生產所謂的增強性食品

  • The seeds give an oil, a very stable oil

    它的種子還能產出一種穩定的油

  • which is sought after by the cosmetic industry

    這種油可以使用在化妝產業

  • to give to produce body lotions, for example.

    來生產如身體乳液之類的產品

  • And if you look at the trunk,

    再來看看它的樹幹

  • the trunk, of course, safeguards water,

    這種樹幹可以保持水分

  • which is often harvested by a thirsty traveler,

    口渴的旅人常用它來解渴

  • and the leaves are used in traditional medicine

    它的樹葉也能被傳統藥物使用

  • against infectious disease.

    來治療感染疾病

  • Now, you can see now why the Africans consider it

    現在你們可以明白為什麼

  • to be the tree of life.

    非洲人稱它為生命之樹了吧

  • It's a complete plant,

    它是一種完整的植物

  • and in fact, the sheer size of these trees

    而事實上光是這些樹的體型

  • is hiding a massive potential,

    就蘊藏著極大的開發潛力

  • not only for the pharma, nutrition, and the cosmetic industry.

    不僅僅在醫療、營養與化妝產業

  • What I have showed you here

    我剛才所介紹給你們的

  • is only the species from Africa,

    是非洲特有品種中的一種:

  • Adansonia digitata.

    非洲猴麵包樹

  • We have six species yet in Madagascar,

    在馬達加斯加島上 還有另外六種猴麵包樹

  • and we don't know what is the potential of this plant,

    我們還不知道這種植物的潛力

  • but one thing we know is that the flora

    但有一點是確定的

  • is considered to be threatened with extinction.

    那就是這種植物正面臨滅絕

  • Let me take you to Africa again,

    讓我們再次回到非洲

  • and introduce you to one of my very favorite,

    來談我最喜歡的一種植物:

  • the resurrection plant.

    復活花

  • Now here you'll find

    你們會發現

  • that even Jesus has competition.

    就連會復活的耶穌也有競爭對手了

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Now, this plant here has developed

    現在這種植物已經進化

  • remarkable tolerance to drought,

    對乾旱有非常強大的忍受力

  • which enables it to withstand

    這使得它在一年中

  • up to 98 percent dehydration over the period of a year

    可以承受高達 98% 的脫水程度

  • without damage,

    而不至於受到破壞

  • and yet it can regenerate itself almost completely

    而且它還能在一夜間,24 小時後

  • overnight, over 24 hours, and flower.

    幾乎完全地再生並開花

  • Now, us human beings,

    現今我們人類一直在尋找

  • we're always on the lookout for the elixir of youth.

    可以永保青春的靈丹

  • We don't want to get old, and rightly so.

    的確,誰都不想變老