The Australian PlantBank has been awarded a prestigious Global Seed Conservation Challenge award in Geneva.
The award for Greatest Progress in Seed Conservation recognises the world-class collecting and research efforts of the PlantBank science team.
PlantBank now stores more than 50% of NSW’s threatened flora seeds, 5,300 Australian species and a total of 10,400 individual seed packets.
The award was presented as part of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International’s 6th Global Botanic Garden Congress.
The Garden’s Executive Director Kim Ellis said it was thrilling to see PlantBank receiving international acclaim, just four years after it opened.
“The team at PlantBank are making a remarkable contribution to the conservation of NSW flora by collecting, storing and studying viable seeds and live tissue specimens of native plant species,” Mr Ellis said.
The award was accepted on PlantBanks’s behalf by Damian Wrigley, National Coordinator of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership.
“Australia is leading the way in global efforts to save and study seeds,” Mr Wrigley said.
“Plant researchers around the world see Australia as a leader in seed research, plant science and conservation.”
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is a membership organisation representing a network of 500 botanic gardens in more than 100 countries. BGCI is the largest plant conservation network in the world, and aims to collect, conserve, characterise and cultivate samples from all of the world’s plants as an insurance policy against their extinction in the wild and as a source of plant material for human innovation, adaptation and resilience.
The internationally recognised seed collections and scientific expertise at the Australian PlantBank is expected to play a key role in the delivery of the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program, which aims to secure threatened plants and animals in the wild for the next 100 years.
The Australian PlantBank is located at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and is the largest native seed bank in Australia and one of the largest in the world, helping to protect Australia’s precious 25,000 native plant species from the threats of extinction. The goal of PlantBank is to collect store and study viable seeds or live tissue specimens of all plant species in Australia.
Built in 2013 at a cost of $19.8 million, the NSW state government contributed $15.5 million and the remainder was generously donated by the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens, the Ian Potter Foundation, HSBC Bank Australia, BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal, TransGrid, and many other donors.