The Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Wakehurst Place in the UK.
The TSCC and ‘SeedSafe’
The TSCC will ensure the long-term security and conservation of Tasmania’s unique native plant species by providing:
- Ex situ support for plant conservation programs;
- Seed material to assist in the scientific study of our native plants; and
- Long term preservation of plant biodiversity loss caused by environmental degradation.
The Tasmanian members of the MSBP are collectively referred to as ‘SeedSafe‘. By the beginning of 2010 the SeedSafe group aimed to:
- Collect and conserve 800 plant species native to Tasmania; and
- Collect and conserve at least 60% of Tasmania’s threatened flora.
Close of MSBP and the future
By the close of the MSBP the Kew seedbank had surpassed it’s target of 24,200 species and collections continue to be added (more information on Kew’s seed numbers here). In the first quarter of 2010 SeedSafe had made over 1,100 collections and held 56% of Tasmania’s threatened flora.
The RTBG has now committed itself to holding 75% of our Threatened flora by 2020, in accordance with the current revision of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
Target species are identified before seeds are collected from naturally occurring populations in the wild. Back at the TSCC, seeds are carefully cleaned, dried, sealed in packages and stored at -20°C.
The SeedSafe program and TSCC will greatly enhance our knowledge of Tasmania’s native flora, of which little is currently known. By collecting seeds in situ, as well as field data and herbarium specimens, testing seed viability, uncovering germination requirements and propagating plants, we expect to uncover a great deal about Tasmanian plant life-cycles, germination ecology and environmental impacts.
‘Back-up’ collections for Tasmania
Half of each seed collection made in Tasmania is stored in the TSCC, while the other half is sent to the MSBP in the UK as part of the
global seed conservation effort. This collection is also an important ‘back up’ for the collection remaining in Tasmania.