Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - Mali
In many African countries such as Mali, plants play a vital role in helping human populations survive. Drought and overexploitation often lead to a shortage of plants that are most useful to man. By identifying and conserving seeds from such plants we can ensure against their loss in the wild and restore the dwindling habitats.
Seed collecting team in Mali (Image: RBG Kew)
Our achievements in Mali
- helped to establish the first National seed bank in Mali – Unite Semences Forestieres et Herbiers
- increased the number of wild plant species in plantations across the country
- enabling the use of Millennium Seed Bank seed collections by local communities, in particular useful plant species
- produced a DVD about our conservation activities and the use of medicinal plants for national TV in Mali
Plant life in Mali is under threat
Many plants are important to human welfare. They provide building materials, traditional medicine, bee plants and sources of fodder and food.
Examples are Anthocleista djalonensis and Securidaca longepedunculata, both threatened in Mali because of uncontrolled harvesting for use in local medicine.
There are an estimated 8 endemic species (found exclusively in Mali), which are vulnerable, since their habitats are more and more threatened. For example Acridocarpus monodii is an endangered shrub that is found only in the rocky cliffs of the Dogon plateau of Badiangara and Douentza, in Central Mali, whilst Gilletiodendron glandulosum, a vulnerable tree species threatened due to habitat loss, is confined only in the Kita massif in the south-west region of Mali.
The present populations of these species are declining rapidly because of unsustainable uses (medicinal), periodic droughts and bushfires.
Saving seeds for the future in Mali
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership in Mali aims to develop research activities to help understand and improve seed handling and storage longevity of West African wild species.
Plant species used daily by the communities in Mali are prioritised. Kew scientists and partners have been working to alleviate the ever-increasing constraints of accessing quality seeds of wild species in Mali, for long-term conservation and sustainable uses by the communities.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is working with the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), mainly with its Regional Centre, the Centre Régional de Recherche Agronomique (CRRA) in Sikasso, which hosts the country forestry programme.
Scientists from Kew are sharing their expertise in all aspects of seed conservation, from collecting in the field through to seed storage and germination. Kew scientists have advised CRRA on the establishment of seed testing and storage facilities in Sikasso. This partnership allowed funding and the result is the set-up of the first seed bank in the country, the Unité de Semences Forestières (USF).
In collaboration with IER in Sikasso, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership is working with local communities on the sustainable uses and propagation of useful wild plants.
Seven communities, ranging from traditional healers to nursery men are involved in this project and seedlings raised by these communities are planted in their own plots and home gardens. They can then harvest various products for their needs and through such activities they would save these species in the wild. Particular emphasis is therefore paid to developing germination, propagation protocols and technical training of all concerned parties.
Teams in Mali have also received and training on the administrative elements of seed collections. This has made the USF fully operational. In addition the project is supporting the training of CRRA staff for higher degrees.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership has built on the existing strong partnership between West African countries, in particular between partner institutes in Burkina Faso and Mali. Collecting activities are thus conducted jointly with the colleagues at CNSF in Burkina Faso.
Discover more about our work in Africa...
Our team in Mali
- Moctar Sacande, MSBP International Co-ordinator
Our partners in Mali
- Programme Ressources Forestieres (IER/CRRA)
Plant stories from Mali
Scientific Research & Data
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