Project purpose: to conserve in seed-bank collections in Madagascar and the UK, the most threatened and economically useful species of Madagascar’s orthodox flora (mostly sub-arid, dry and montane habitats) and to promote and facilitate their sustainable utilisation and restoration in the wild.
Itremo Massif, Madagascar (Image: E. Williams, RBG Kew)
In Madagascar the seed collecting programme is undertaken by Silo National des Graines Forestières (SNGF), which also maintains Madagascar's national seed bank, in partnership with the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC). Seed collections are split between SNGF and Kew's Millennium Seed Bank to minimise risk. During the first 10-year phase (2000-2010), SNGF and KMCC collected 1,300 species and Madagascar was the first MSBP country to reach its 10-year target of 1000 species. KMCC provides botanical expertise and is continually refining the collection strategy with SNGF using extensive botanical data and GIS tools such as predictive mapping and hotspot analysis. The team is developing a prioritisation protocol based on a database that will include preliminary conservation assessments for the complete orthodox flora and annotated with economic importance.
The second phase (2010-2020) aims to collect 1500 new species for the MSBP, bringing the total banked to 2,800 species for Madagascar, representing approximately 25% of the total flora and 50% of the bankable flora. The focus is on six key groups:
- endemic families & genera (the most evolutionary isolated taxa)
- framework species for restoration projects
- culturally important species (e.g. baobabs)
- economically important species and strategic food sources (e.g. yams)
- endangered species known from very few sites
- endangered species not found in protected areas
A growing number of collections will be contributed by donor projects with field biologists who can locate and identify populations of rare and threatened species. One such donor is KMCC's Itremo Massif Protected Area Project. The known flora is 560 species, of which only 100 have been collected previously for the MSBP. Around 10% of the flora of Itremo is locally endemic and many more species are extremely rare.
Project partners and collaborators
Missouri Botanical Garden
Rio Tinto QMM
Silo National des Graines Forestières (SNGF)