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Why are plants important?

Can you imagine life without plants? Impossible. Plants are part of every aspect of our lives… we eat them, we wear them, we could not even breathe without them!

Life without plants?

Air: Did you know that plants can clean air? It's thanks to plants that we have oxygen to breathe.


Food: Plants are producers! This means they start nearly all of the food chains on earth. Herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat herbivores who eat plants, so carnivores need plants too! 

Habitat: The amazing diversity of plant life on Earth gives rise to an amazing diversity of wildlife. There can be up to 1000 species living in a single tree in the Amazon jungle... from microorganisms, to beetles, to opossums, monkeys, birds, reptiles, frogs and more! 

Products: Plants provide many products for human use, such as timber, fibres for clothing, medicines, coloured dyes, pesticides, oils, rubber, glue and firewood.


Water: Plants recycle lots of materials through a process called biogeochemical cycles. Most importantly, plants move enormous amounts of water from the soil into the atmosphere as part of the water cycle.

Wellness: There’s a reason we feel better when we are in nature. Besides it being simply beautiful, peaceful and relaxing, nature helps us feel better emotionally and feel better connected with other human beings as we are not distracted by technology and urban chaos. In fact, the mental and emotional wellbeing of plants is so powerful that by simply having just one green plant in your office, you can positively increase your mood by 20%! Imagine what a whole forest can do for you!

Climate: Plants are of staggering importance to humans, and to essentially all life on Earth. Without plants, life on this planet as it is now would not be possible. This is because:

Do you know how these plants are connected to things that animals and humans use? 

Why do we need scientists to work with plants?

Watch the video below about Vital Science to learn about the role of scientists in understanding plants, and how that affects our daily lives.     


Activities - Why are plants important?

1. Learn about our scientists

Our scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and the Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan study plants to learn from them and protect them. Their research helps us understand plant biology, genetics, chemistry, plant diseases and ecology to help protect biodiversity and preserve life on our planet.

Choose one of our scientists and find out what they are working on.
Activity Sheet

2. Keep a diary

Keep a diary for a day and note every time you are using a product that has come from a plant.

Activity Sheet

3. Living or non-living?

Look closely in your backyard or school playground and collect living and non-living things that are smaller than your forearm. Classify them into a list of living and non-living things. Which did you find more of?


4. Favourite plant foods

What is your favourite plant to eat and what do you like about it?

Survey the students in your class and make a bar chart of popular plant foods.



5. Make a mud-map

Create symbols for living and non-living things and make a map of your way to school.

What do you see along the way?

What is the balance of non-living things like concrete, supermarkets, cars and houses compared with living things such as flowers, grass, trees, shrubs and animals?