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New IUCN Specialist Group on seed banking to be established

24 October 2016

As part of the IUCN World Conservation Congress that took place in last month in Hawai’i, a Knowledge Café session was held that brought together seed banking experts from over 20 institutions. The group was gathered to discuss initiating a new IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Seed Conservation Specialist Group (SCSG).

The IUCN SSC is a global network of more than 9000 scientific experts, working together to achieve “A just world that values and conserves nature through positive action to reduce the loss of diversity of life on earth.” The SSC includes over 130 Specialist Groups, organized taxonomically, regionally, or by discipline. Currently there is no Specialist Group focusing on seeds. The SCSG will work together with other specialist groups on plant conservation and act as a point of contact on seed banking.

During the Knowledge Café session participants discussed the proposal for a new specialist group, leadership and the specific objectives that the group will deliver.  Marian Chau, Seed Conservation Laboratory Manager at Harold L. Lyon Arboretum; Dustin Wolkis, Seed Bank & Laboratory Manager at the National Tropical Botanic Garden Hawai’i and Uromi Goodale, Associate Professor at Guangxi University in China were all nominated to be Co-chairs of the SCSG. BGCI will act as Secretariat of the group.

The next step will involve submitting a proposal to the SSC Chair on the establishment of the SCSG. The first objective of the group is to create a global directory of resources, facilities and expertise on seed banking.

Learn more about the work that BGCI does in seed banking as part of the Global Seed Conservation Challenge.


Photo credit: Alvin Yoshinaga

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