Submitted by gsparrow on
Alex Seglias

PLANT BIODIVERSITY IS being lost at an accelerated rate as a result of climate change, habitat degradation, and multiple other factors. To conserve native plant species, many institutions are turning towards ex-situ methods, such as storage in seed banks. Seed banks store seeds at low moisture (3-7% moisture content) and temperature conditions (-20 °C/-4 °F or below), which slow the rate of deterioration and the loss of viability, allowing for the preservation of some seeds for up to hundreds of years. Importantly, seed collections are not established as a replacement for conserving populations in the wild, but rather to serve as a precautionary measure in the case of species extinction or population destruction. If a species or population were to become extinct in the wild, the stored seeds would allow for its reintroduction or restoration.