October 15, 2009

Seed Bank Collects 10 Percent Of World’s Plant Species

The Kew's Millennium Seed Bank has successfully collected 10 percent of the world's plants with 1.7 billion seeds being stored to date.

The goal was met with the addition of seeds from a wild banana, the plant conservatory's 24,200th wild plant species.

The Kew bank is the largest plant conservation project in the world. It is intended to save plants faced with the threat of extinction. The seed collective combines the efforts of more than 120 groups in 54 countries.

The 10 percent goal was set in 2000, at the start of the Kew partnership.

The collaborative now has its sights set on collecting one-fourth of the world's seeds by 2020.

Kew's partner institutions celebrated the benchmark at Kew's base in Wakehurst Place, Sussex.

"In a time of increasing concern about loss of biodiversity and climate change, Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership provides a real message of hope and is a vital resource in an uncertain world," said Stephen Hopper, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Director.

"The success we are celebrating today is extraordinary and on a scale never before contemplated in global biodiversity conservation."

"The need for the kind of insurance policy and practical conservation resource Kew's Millennium Seed Bank provides has never been greater," he added.


Image Caption: The yunnan banana (Musa itinerans) is the 24,200th plant species saved at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank. Courtesy Kew


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