Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership – Queensland
Queensland has the second highest number of threatened species in Australia. As an insurance against their extinction in the wild, seeds are being collected and conserved as part of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership. At a time when they are needed in the future, they can be grown into plants and reintroduced into the wild.
Rainforest at Lamington, southern Queensland (Image: John Dickie, RBG Kew)
Plant life under threat in Queensland
Of the 7,811 native plant species in the State, some 13% are rare or threatened, 23 plant species are classified as Extinct in the wild, 151 species are Endangered, 274 species are Vulnerable and 688 species are rare. These plants are in danger of extinction in the next 10-50 years unless action is taken to reverse their decline.
Loss of natural habitat through land clearing for pastoral purposes, urban development and agriculture are the main causes of this threat. Grazing pressure from domestic stock and introduced animals (such as rabbits), changing fire patterns and the spread of weeds are others.
Environment and climate
Queensland has enormous diversity of climate and habitat types. Inland Queensland has some of the most inhospitable dry bushland on the continent whilst the wet tropical forests of the northern end are some of the richest and least explored parts of the country.
Saving seeds for the future in Queensland
The objective of our project in Queensland is to conserve seeds from native plant species from both threatened ecosystems and arid lands.
We aim to collect seed from 1,000 plant species new to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank over a six year period. Addressing this is the Seeds for Life - Queensland programme, a consortium of six State-based organisations involved in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership.
The newly constructed seed conservation and storage facilities at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens have enabled the State to initiate a programme of long-term conservation from targeted species. In addition, a locally-led training programme has developed a wide network of expert seed collection volunteers to assist in the seed collection effort.
Inclusion of University research teams has also fostered a research programme on seed dormancy in order to ensure that the collected species can be returned to the wild through restoration and species recovery programmes.
Research collaboration between scientists based at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank and our Queensland partners has resulted in a better understanding of the conservation needs of wild limes (Citrus spp.) from the Queensland rainforest and other edible species such as Davison's plum (Davidsonia pruriens) both of which are known as 'recalcitrant' species (species that have seeds that that do not survive drying and freezing during ex-situ conservation).
Discover more about our work in Australia...
Our team in Queensland
- Michiel van Slageren, International Project Coordinator
Our partners in Queensland
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