Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership – South Australia
The SACRED Seeds project is a collaboration between the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Seed Conservation Centre and Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership. Over half of South Australia's rare and endangered flora is now secure in duplicated collections in long term seed storage facilities in Adelaide and at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank. These collections are helping plant species to recover in their natural habitats.
The South Australian floral emblem, Sturt's desert pea (Swainsona formosa), seen here at Moonaree sand dunes in the Gawler Ranges of Northern South Australia. Now secure in seed banks in Adelaide, Perth and at Kew (Image: South Australian Seed Conservation Centre)
The primary target of the partnership is to conserve 60% of South Australia’s threatened plant species by 2010. The program has currently collected 45% of the State’s threatened plant species. It was also agreed to conserve a minimum of 1010 species by the end of the project. This was exceeded before the end of the 2008.Dr Phil Ainsley, Germplasm Research Coordinator, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, South Australia
Plants under threat in South Australia
Of the 3,400 vascular plant species in the state, 800 are listed as being under threat of extinction. As in many States, there are significant numbers of endemic species (plants found exclusively in South Australia), with the highest concentration of endemism occurring on the Eyre Peninsula.
Agricultural and urban expansion, over grazing of fragile dryland areas and climate change continue to challenge the conservation of many of these plant species.
Environment and climate
Approximately 75% of South Australia is considered to be arid and semi-arid, defined as areas frequently affected by drought and receiving 200 to 350 mm of rainfall per year. The Nullabor Plain is a dryland area contiguous with Eastern WA, and the highest point of the State (Mt. Woodroffe) is in the extreme North West.
Saving seeds for the future in South Australia
The collaboration between Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership and the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide (BGA) has been formalised as the South Australian Centre for Rare & Endangered Seeds (SACRED Seeds).
The BGA has developed a strong team of seed collectors and conservationists in the Seed Conservation Centre. Their key objective has been to collect and conserve seeds from South Australia’s threatened and priority plant species. The aim is to collect 1,010 species new to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank over a six year period.
Collaboration with Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership has allowed for the adoption of improved seed management procedures for long-term conservation collections held at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Seed Conservation Centre. Seeds are carefully cleaned, dried and frozen at -20°C for successful preservation. They can last in long-term storage facilities for decades, even centuries.
The Seed Conservation Centre in Adelaide is also undertaking vital research to develop germination and storage protocols for each species of plant held as seed in the seedbank.This has allowed the Seed Conservation Centre to become closely linked with implementing South Australia’s regional biodiversity plans.
Discover more about our work in Australia...
Our team in South Australia
- Tim Pearce, International Project Coordinator
Our partners in South Australia
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