Seed banks are becoming a valuable tool for conserving the worlds plant species. Research in seed science has led to improvements in the way we harvest and store seed allowing us to protect species and safeguard against a decline in genetic diversity and plant species.
Seed banks globally may have different aims such as preserving heritage food plant seed and storing seeds for ecological benefits. The largest seed bank in the world is the millennium seed bank located in the United Kingdom. This facility comprises of an underground vault capable of housing billion of seeds.
While the MMLAP seed bank may be small in comparison it is useful for storing seed to be used in local large-scale habitat restoration projects. One of the biggest threats facing revegetation and in the area is a lack of suitable viable seed. Vegetation clearance and events such as wildfires has meant that the region has lost much of its native vegetation resulting in habitat loss.
The establishment of a community seed bank facility allows MMLAP to harvest native seed seasonally and store it under optimal conditions to help maintain seed viability. Seed production areas in the region provide an additional source of seed and can further reduce pressure on remnant vegetation, particularly of rarer species.
MMLAP landholders recently attended the National Seed Science forum in New South Wales. As part of the forum, delegates took a behind the scene tour of the Australian pant bank - a research facility that focuses on the conservation of native Australian plant species. A major component of this is the seed bank where researches collect and store seed from a variety of plant species both common and rare. The end goal is to bank seed from as many species as possible and store them in a way which maintains viability to help preserve biodiversity into the future. For more information on the Australian plant bank visit their website http://www.plantbank.org.au/
This project is supported through funding from the Australian Government