Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew honored Leonardo DiCaprio by giving his name to a tree located only in Cameroon, Uvariopsis dicaprio, after the actor helped protect the Ebo Forest from logging. The Leonardo Tree is now considered to be “the first plant new to science to be officially named by Kew scientists in 2022.”

“We think he was crucial in helping to stop the logging of the Ebo Forest,” said Dr. Martin Cheek of Kew told the BBC. In 2020, DiCaprio, 47, posted on social media a petition against logging in the home to the Banen people. The actor aided experts, who wrote letters to the Cameroonian government about the endangered species of both animals and plants in the Ebo Forest. Among the endangered plants is the now named Uvariopsis dicaprio. It is a small tropical evergreen tree with yellow flowers growing from its trunk and is a member of the ylang-ylang family.

After urging the Cameroonian government to cancel its plan, the president of Cameroon later backtracked on his decision. According to the Global Wildlife Conservation, additional logging would have destroyed the habitat of a small population of gorillas that may be a new subspecies and threatened chimpanzees known for both cracking nuts and fishing for termites.

“There are still thousands of plant species and maybe millions of fungal species out there that we don’t know about,” Dr. Cheek said. “This natural habitat that they’re growing in – especially forests, but other habitats too, is increasingly and more rapidly being destroyed by us humans without knowing what’s there.”

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