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Thank you for your generous support of the Australian PlantBank fundraising campaign. We are delighted to announce that we have reached our target. Please click here for more information.
Construction is almost complete!
Construction of an internationally significant plant conservation facility, the Australian PlantBank, is now nearing completion at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.
Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker dug the earth in southwest Sydney on 10 January 2012 at the ground-breaking ceremony to commence construction of one of Australia’s most important banks. Minister Parker said 'PlantBank is vital for the future of Australian biodiversity. Located at the nation’s largest botanic garden, the $19.8 million scientific facility will Incorporate its largest native seedbank.'
'While banks manage our money and futures, PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan will invest in nature', Ms Parker said. 'Millions of living seeds will be collected and deposited to preserve Australia’s biodiversity and establish a hub for research into the survival needs and life-giving properties of our plants. This bank really matters because if a species becomes extinct, no amount of money and no government on earth can bail it out. When we lose species, we lose threads in the web of life and untold potential for human health and well-being.'
The ultimate goal is to collect and store seeds or live tissue from all of Australia’s 25,000 plant species. Over 200 million living seeds may eventually be stored in its thermally-efficient, refrigerated vault, designed to withstand fire and other threats.
PlantBank will be open to the public and is expected to attract local, national and international visitors and students. There will be opportunities to interact with scientists and advanced technology while learning about Australian plants. It will be a place to educate us all and inspire a new generation of scientists.
PlantBank is of global significance for the scientific community. The United Nations Environment Program identifies Australia as one of 12 mega diverse countries and fifth in the world for mega diversity of flora. More than 85 per cent of our plants are unique to the Australian wilderness. Threats to Australia’s mega diversity have increased dramatically over recent decades, in particular from land clearance and degradation, introduction of alien species, pollution, disease and climate change.
In New South Wales, ten per cent of our plant species are now at risk of extinction. This is a serious matter. Human life depends on plants - as does all life on earth. Eighty per cent of Australian plant species grow in this country and no where else (i.e. they are endemic here) and offer largely-untapped resources for human nutrition, health and well-being. PlantBank will be the place people come to study our rich and valuable native flora and will be a major centre of plant science for NSW, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, where the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is spear-heading botanical research and conservation training.
Construction is well advance with works now beyond 90% complete after builders, Hansen Yunken, officially started on 16 January 2012. Practical completion is expected by July 2013 with the landscaping and interpretive design components to be installed shortly thereafter. The Australian Botanic Garden is currently producing over 25,000 plants for the new landscape.
At this stage PlantBank is expected to open to the public in spring 2013. For updates on PlantBank construction activities please have a look at the PlantBank Construction Blog.
James Grose, who headed the PlantBank design team at BVN Architecture, said the 3000 m2 building will be a model of sustainability, incorporating energy efficiency, low maintenance construction materials, water recycling and passive design to maximise natural lighting, ventilation and warmth.
At a total cost of $19.8 million it will house the NSW Seedbank collection in thermal-efficient vaults where millions of seeds will be deep-frozen as the ultimate insurance policy against loss of biodiversity. It will be one of the largest seed banks in the world, and the biggest native seed bank in Australia. For more details on the design & construction of PlantBank please click here.
Project management is by Thinc Projects and the construction firm is Hansen Yuncken.
The NSW Government has committed $15.5 million of the total $19.8 million construction cost. Generous contributors and sponsors to date include the Ian Potter Foundation, HSBC Australia, Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens, TransGrid and BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal.
For further information or to pledge support please contact:
PlantBank is supported by