Climate change and the effects of human activity on the planet have created a crisis in biodiversity and natural resources.

The legume family – the "peas and beans" – are vital for human well-being in communities around the world. Different species provide food and fodder, fuel and fertiliser, and even pharmaceuticals. Legumes play an essential part in fixing nitrogen, improving soil fertility and water retention and reducing soil erosion. Consequently, the legume family contains species vital to helping researchers address key United Nations Sustainability Goals such as Zero Hunger, Good Health, Climate Action and Life on Land.

Sample specimens preserved in the Oxford University Herbaria now have the opportunity to contribute in a novel way to research. £50,000 will enable researchers to create digital records, with images and fundamental collection data about thousands of pressed and preserved specimens. These will be available to everyone – researchers and the general public alike – via our online database BRAHMS.

With your help, collections acquired and stewarded over centuries will take on a new lease of life. As a thank you, your name will be recorded forever in the digitised files, as the person who enabled the record to be created.

Like individual specimens in the collection, your donation will contribute to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. If you share our concern that our planet is pressed for time, please join us in digitising this priceless collection today.

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