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Kew's projects in Central and North America

Kew is undertaking vital work to protect plant life and habitats under threat in this region.

The MSB team collecting seeds in Mexico (Image: RBG Kew)

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is making a difference

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is working in the USA and Mexico to help save plant life for our future.

In the USA, habitats such as central tall grass prairie are under threat from changes in land use, invasive species and climate. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is working in collaboration with botanical organisations across the USA within the Seeds of Success programme.

We have collected over 2,900 native species for banking in the USA and for duplicate storage at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst Place. The project is conserving seeds for the future and is also involved in providing seed for restoration of damaged habitats.

Vital work is also being carried out in Mexico. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is helping to halt the loss of plant diversity in some of the most precious drylands of the country. These regions suffer from drought and are threatened by changes in both climate and land usage.

Seeds from endangered, useful, or endemic species (plants found exclusively in Mexico) are being collected from the Mexican drylands in this project. Collected seeds are processed and tested by technicians, and seeds are dried in a chamber developed with technical advice from Kew. An active research group is studying the biology of seeds in order to develop improved techniques for saving and using seeds from the Mexican drylands.

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership in the USA and Mexico

Understanding and conserving meso-American orchids in Costa Rica

Kew is working in Costa Rica to help increase expertise for research and conservation of meso-American orchids.

Our project is helping to improve understanding this species of orchid, and we have established long-term monitoring sites to support continued research. We are also developing ways to help the conservation and sustainable use of these orchids. This includes use of their genetic material, propagation and commercialisation. 

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