Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - China
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and partners in China are working together to conserve flora in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Home to many plants found nowhere else, China’s rapid development is placing some species under threat.
Training course for staff and students of the Kunming Institute of Botany, October 2005 (Image: Jie Cai)
The Millennium Seed Bank partnership achieved the seed-banking of 10% of the world's flora in 2009. Our collaboration with Kew's Millennium Seed Bank has led to the establishment of the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, an irreplaceable hub of the seed conservation in China. We received tremendous support and facilitation from Kew's Millennium Seed Bank.Li De-Zhu, Professor and Director, KIB, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Plant life in China is under threat
China is the third most biodiverse country in the world. It is home to over 30,000 plants and 50% of these are endemic (found exclusively in China). China is also home to 10% of the world's fauna.
However, China’s wilderness and biodiversity are coming under increasing threat from various reasons. Intensification of agriculture, large development projects, the over harvesting of timber and medicinal plants all contribute to this threat.
Environment and climate
China spans a huge range of different ecological zones, from high alpine ecosystems, tundra in the northern parts of the country to tropical rainforests in the south.
Saving seeds for the future in China
Teams from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership are sharing their expertise in seed collecting and banking activities with their partner, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This will help enhance and strengthen China’s capacity to conserve wild plant species. Plants from threatened and endemic species will be identified and targeted for collection.
Scientists from Kew have provided technical assistance for a new seed bank, the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species (GBOWS), that is based at the Kunming Institute of Botany in Kunming, Yunnan province. GBOWS is funded by the Government of China. The bank aims to enhance capacity for biodiversity conservation and safeguard endangered species in China, especially for the wild plant resources.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Project (MSBP) helps its Chinese partners to develop facilities and enhance the scientific research capabilities in the ex situ conservation of indigenous and endangered plant species. MSBP's seed conservation network spread to East Asia with the development of the partnership with China in 2004. A ten year Access and Benefit Sharing Agreement has been signed between RBG Kew and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
To achieve the objective of this Access and Benefit Sharing Agreement, the three main outputs will be:
- an enhancement and strengthening in the capacity of the partners to collect and conserve wild plant species
- the establishment of a long-term system of ex situ conservation of seed of threatened and endemic species, using the most current and appropriate seed banking and collecting techniques
- the advancement of research efforts of the Partners in the field of ex situ conservation. The focus of joint research projects lies on molecular biology and seed technology
Discover more about our work in China and Central Asia...
Our team in China
- Jonas Mueller, MSBP, International Co-ordinator
Our partners in China
Plant stories from China
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