Using seeds to restore habitats at risk, help communities and further sustainable development worldwide
As well as saving seeds, Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is using the seeds we save to restore habitats and improve livelihoods worldwide.
As a result of the devastating bush fires in south east Australia during early 2009, Nematolepis wilsonii is now extinct in the wild with the only known sites now completely burned. The MSB is using the seeds it collected to restore the species to the wild (Read full story).
Scientists from across the globe use seed from Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership to further sustainable development research, including medical and environmental studies. The potential impacts of these investigations on human lives worldwide are enormous.
Seed collections are also used to help scientists and conservationists at Kew and our partner institutions around the world improve seed conservation.
Restoring damaged habitats worldwide
Restoring damaged habitats around the world is becoming an increasingly important aspect of our work.
The loss of ecosystem services from degraded habitats is a significant barrier to achieving international goals to reduce poverty, hunger and disease. Kew’s Breathing Planet programme aims to establish a global network of scientists and practitioners to use seed banks for the urgent repair and re-establishment of damaged native vegetation.
Being able to access seeds of a wide range of locally adapted plant species together with information about how to propagate them may help poor communities to enhance their livelihoods and adapt to the effects of climate change. The Useful Plants Project is building the capacity of communities in Mexico, the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Mali to collect, conserve and use the seeds of useful wild plants.
The MSBP’s seed collections, associated data and herbarium vouchers are held in our partner's seed banks, in the country of origin, with duplicate collections stored at Kew's Milllennium Seed Bank located at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex. Small sub-samples of the seeds can be made available to other organisations for sustainable development research. Seed samples for sustainable development research are only provided if we have permission from the countries of origin to do so, if the collection is big enough and the germination needs of that seed have been worked out.
Users from across the globe range from university departments and agricultural institutes to non-governmental organisations. Requests for samples from the MSB can be made by registering for our seeds list.
Collections are also used by Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership for a wide range of research studies aimed at improving understanding of seed storage behaviour, germination processes and requirements and dormancy mechanisms. Longer term studies aim to develop ‘diagnostic tests’ to identify genes and molecules associated with dormancy or germination or aging.
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