Panagiotis Spiliotis (b.1991) is a Greek and Irish trained botanist and plant ecologist based in his hometown of Brussels. After graduating from his Master’s degree in plant taxonomy from the University of Edinburgh in 2015, took some time away from studies to pursue other interests and goals, and develop abilities and skills not often associated with academia, including landscaping, carpentry and sales of high end luxury chocolate.
After three years of successful employment in different industries, he traveled to Malaysia to undertake a large botanically themed project here in Rimbun Dahan. Other than pure taxonomy and systematics, his main area of interest in his discipline is ex-situ conservation of endangered species, focusing on how botanic gardens and conservation sites can manage, sustain and maximise the positive impact they can have on fighting the ongoing crisis of extinction caused by anthropogenic habitat loss and the destruction of our biotope.
He is a firm believer that any botanic garden and ex-situ site plays two fundamental roles in any given culture and society, a) a pedagogic one, b) an agent of conservation for endangered species. They have to conserve what is going out, and they have to tell and teach people about it. In Rimbun Dahan you can find approx. 2000 trees, with more than 600 species of plants, many of which are critically endangered and cannot be found in any other location.
During his stay in Rimbun Dahan for the next couple of months as a resident botanist, Pan will be cataloging and recording all the species of plants, figuring out which ones need more attention, help establish the necessary course of action needed to maintain and propagate them, while documenting the whole process in a rich and easy format to be used for education. It’s about giving out the necessary tools and knowledge to make plant conservation a personal responsibility, while showing that not only is it easily done, but is also probably the most effective long term course of action!
We are all connected to each other, more than ever before, and all it takes is some time and patience to actually make a significant contribution. A bag of soil, a couple of seeds, the preservation of a species. He would like to show that, while using Rimbun Dahan as a great example of the potential this sort of management and philosophy to plant conservation can truly achieve.