Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership – Mexico
Vital work is being carried out by Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership to halt the loss of plant diversity in some of the most precious drylands of Mexico. These regions suffer from drought and are threatened by changes in both climate and land usage.
Kew's Michael Way collecting seeds with project partner UNAM, Mexico. Sept 2001 (Image: RBG Kew)
This project has enabled us to work on different aspects of in situ and ex situ plant conservation in arid zones of Mexico. The collaboration has developed the expertise of our students and professors in different aspects of plant conservation and has become key to our research in new areas of knowledge.Dra. Patricia Dolores Dávila Aranda, Banco de Semillas, FESI-UNAM
Plant life in Mexico is under threat
Mexico is recognized as a megadiversity country and possesses between 10% and 12% of the world's vascular plant species. This is largely due to Mexico’s location, spanning both temperate and tropical climates, and its complex geography resulting in an area rich in biological diversity and endemic species.
Arid and semi-arid environments comprise over half of Mexico’s territory and account for around 20% of the total national plant diversity. Our conservation work is focused on these areas as they are the site of origin, development and diversification of a large number of plant species. These habitats are at risk, already two thirds of the Mexican arid and semi-arid lands have been drastically altered by human activities.
Saving seeds for the future in Mexico
Seeds from endangered, useful, or endemic species (plants found exclusively in Mexico) are being collected from the Mexican drylands in this project .
The Faculty of Higher Studies (FES-Iztacala) which is part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) carries out all steps in the seed conservation process with advice and support from staff at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank. Following procedures developed by Kew's species targeting team, geographical and botanical data has been compiled from partner herbaria to produce collecting guides for target species.
Collected seeds are processed and tested by technicians at FES-Iztacala, and seeds are dried in a chamber developed with Kew technical advice. Seed collections are then stored in the FES-Iztacala seed bank with duplicates held at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place. An active FES-Iztacala research group is studying the biology of seeds in order to develop improved techniques for saving and using seeds from the Mexican drylands.
Discover more about our work in Central and North America...
Our team in Mexico
- Michael Way, International Coordinator (Americas)
Our partners in Mexico
- The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
- The Faculty of Higher Studies (FES Iztacala)
- Institute of Ecology, Morelia
- "Ecotourist Guide to the plants of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley", produced for the use of local communities and visitors to this uniquely diverse region on the border of Oaxaca and Puebla states. Written in Spanish. Guia Ecoturística: Las Plantas Del Valle De Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Scientific Research and Data
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