New bank where deposits are guaranteed to grow
Construction has begun on the 3000 m2 PlantBank building at the Australian Botanic Garden. The seedbank, due to be completed by late 2012 will be a model of sustainable design, including thermal-efficient vaults where millions of seeds will be deep-frozen as the ultimate insurance policy against loss of biodiversity. It will be one of the largest seed banks in the world, and the biggest native seed bank in Australia.
PlantBank will safeguard the future of our precious plant species through ‘seed-banking’, research and information-sharing. This facility will bring together the best science and the best scientists to recover degraded landscapes, generating new knowledge for better conservation planning and responding to climate change.
The Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust will manage PlantBank. Under carefully controlled conditions most Australian seeds can be preserved for decades and in many cases centuries. For those that can’t, like many rainforest species, urgent research is needed to find ways to preserve seeds for future restoration projects.
Up to half the world’s plant species may be under threat of extinction. In Australia over ten per cent are already listed as endangered due to land clearance, introduced weeds, feral animals and diseases.
Climate change is likely to increase this number substantially as plants are unable to adapt to increased temperatures as well as intensifying drought, flood and fire patterns.
PlantBank’s stored seeds will not only provide a insurance policy for our flora, they will provide the raw material for research in its state-of-the-art laboratories and glasshouses.
Read the full story here.
Visit the Plantbank website here