About Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
Today, 60,000 to 100,000 species of plant are faced with the threat of extinction. Plants provide the air we breathe, clean water and we all rely on plants for food. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plants world wide with a focus on plants most at risk and most useful for the future.
Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst
About the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
Together with our partners in 80 countries worldwide, we have already successfully saved seeds from over 10% of the world's wild plant species.
By 2020, our aim is to secure the safe storage of seed from 25% of the world’s bankable plants. We target plants and regions most at risk from climate change and the ever-increasing impact of human activities. We also save the seeds of the world's plant life faced with the threat of extinction, and those that could be of most use in the future.
It is undeniable that the Millennium Seed Bank project in Burkina Faso, through both the seed collecting and the use by local communities of wild plant species, which are particularly well adapted to increasing drastic conditions generated by climate change, is perfectly anchored in my country’s forestry policy.Mr Salifou Sawadogo, Minister of Environment Burkina Faso
Why Kew saves seeds
Today, between 60,000 and 100,000 species of plant are faced with the threat of extinction – roughly a quarter of all plant species.
Plants are dying out largely due to the activities of people. Clearing of primary vegetation, over-exploitation and climate change are all causing species losses.
We need plants, because plants are useful. Plants provide the air we breathe, they provide clean water, fuel, building materials, fibres, resins and we all rely on plants for food.
Plants also play a vital role in combating climate change. Plants maintain the atmosphere and counteract climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, turning it into plant material. Kew’s projects are supporting plants in mitigating and adapting to our changing climate.
Plants hold potential for our future
We already know of thousands of plants that are useful to people, but many more have the potential to be useful in the future.
Over 30,000 species of plant are edible, but we use only a tiny fraction of these in commercial agriculture. In the future we may well need a much greater range of species, particularly if climate change alters growing seasons or the world’s population continues to increase and we run out of prime agricultural land.
Plants are also vital for medicine. About 70% of the world’s population relies on traditional plant remedies for medicine. Only one in five plant species have been screened for use in medicine. Cures for diseases could lie in many of these unscreened species.
We can't afford to let these plants, and the potential they hold, die out. Discover more about how Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is helping to save plants for our future.
How you can help...
Plants are under threat in today's world. Each day the world’s plants are more and more at risk. If we continue on our current path, we will lose a species a day for the next 50 years.
By making a donation to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, you can help one of the largest and most ambitious conservation projects in the world make a real difference.
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew
News from the MSBP
28 Nov 2013
Orchids have the smallest seeds in the world and they produce millions of them, but why? Kew's seed morphologist Wolfgang Stuppy explains the clever survival plan that lies behind this seemingly wasteful strategy.
25 Jan 2013
He may be a Seed Morphologist but Wolfgang Stuppy of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank discovers there is more to the snake gourd than just some strange fruit and eccentric seeds.