Millennium Seed Bank (1)

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© Explore Kew Gardens

All life depends on plants, but as many as a quarter of the world's seed-bearing plants could be condemned to extinction before the new millennium is a century old. Should this happen, many thousands of animals would also disappear as their natural habitats vanish. The implications for the survival of the human race would be enormous. Increasingly, botanists worldwide are working together to help prevent this catastrophic loss of plant diversity.


© Explore Kew Gardens

The Millennium Seed Bank Project offers many opportunities for worldwide botanical collaboration to combat species loss. It is the world's largest seed bank devoted to wild species conservation. Among its aims are the collection and conservation of seeds from 10% of the world's seed-bearing flora ­ some 24,000 species ­ by the year 2010.


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This will be achieved with international partners in a collaborative collecting and conservation programme focussing primarily on the world's arid and semi-arid regions. These include many of the world's poorest countries where almost one billion people live.


© Explore Kew Gardens

One of the first major goals achieved, helped by 250 people from 37 organisations, was to collect seeds from all of the UK's 1400 native plants, over 300 of which are endangered species.