16 Oct 2009:
Kew Gardens Seed Bank
Has Collected 10 Percent of Plant Species
A repository created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has collected nearly 10 percent of the seeds from the world’s estimated 300,000 seed-bearing plants
, completing the first phase of an ambitious plan to preserve the seeds of all the species threatened by human development and climate change. The
final seeds added in the project’s opening phase came from an endangered pink banana — Musa itinerans — favored by Asian elephants. To date, the Kew seed bank has collected 1.6 billion seeds from a total of 24,200 plant species. The next phase of the project aims to preserve seeds from 75,000 species by 2020. The seed bank has already been used to revive threatened species, including replanting a shrub, the shiny nematolepis, whose only known remaining plants were destroyed in massive Australian wildfires earlier this year. Scientists estimate that as many as 200,000 of the world’s seed-bearing species
could eventually be at risk from rising temperatures and human encroachment on the natural world. The seed bank, which opened in 2000, stores the seeds in super-cooled, underground vaults in Sussex.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.