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Seeds from the residence of Prince Charles are among the new additions to the Arctic ‘doomsday vault’

Wild pasture seeds from the Highgrove residence of Prince Charles are among the new plant species that are being added to the Arctic ‘doomsday vault’.

The seeds of the royal gardens are accompanied by those of onions from Brazil, guar beans from Central Asia and hundreds of others in the collections of the vault for safekeeping.

In a statement, Prince Charles said that “it is more urgent than ever to act to protect this.” [plant] diversity before it is really too late. “

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean.

The permafrost of the island means that the seeds must remain frozen, even if the cooling installation of the facility – which maintains a temperature of -18 ° C – loses power.

With around 60,000 seeds, the final deposit in the vault collections will be the largest since the facility was opened in 2008.

It will also mark the first shipment since the vault was upgraded to make it future-proof against the ravages of climate change following floods at the end of 2016.

The addition brings the total number of stored seeds from the vault to more than one million, although the facility has a capacity of up to 4.5 million samples.

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Wild pasture seeds from the Highgrove residence of Prince Charles are among the new plant species that are being added to the Arctic 'doomsday vault', the entrance of which is depicted

Wild pasture seeds from the Highgrove residence of Prince Charles are among the new plant species that are being added to the Arctic ‘doomsday vault’, the entrance of which is depicted

The seeds from the royal gardens are accompanied by those from onions from Brazil, guar beans from Central Asia and hundreds of others in the vault collections. In a statement, Prince Charles – pictured here walking in the gardens of Highgrove – said it is “more urgent than ever to act now to protect this” [plant] diversity before it is really too late ‘

The large-scale addition to the collections of the vault will be attended by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who described the event as ‘very current’.

This year she told the New scientist, is in which countries the genetic diversity of crops should have been protected in order to achieve the goal of the United Nations to eliminate world hunger by 2030.

The global vault is primarily intended as a back-up for other seed banks around the world and provides ‘back-up copies’ of valuable plant species in case the originals are lost due to regional or global crises.

Such disasters have a precedent: the Philippines’ national seed bank was damaged by floods and then destroyed in a fire, while facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq were destroyed in conflict.

This belt-and-buckle approach is designed to ensure that regional seed backs are able to maintain a variety of different plant species, while providing seeds when needed to support agricultural efforts.

Maintaining plant diversity is “incredibly important” for developing new, more productive crop varieties, said Hannes Dempewolf of the Crop Trust who runs the Svalbard vault in collaboration with the Norwegian government.

The key to the safe, she added, lies not only in a so-called ‘number game’, but also in successfully prioritizing the preservation of unique species.

Seed banks are also increasingly being used to help farmers adapt to global warming.

‘The way we see the climate warming up and finding places [crop] varieties for use in more challenging conditions, these seed banks are used more actively, “added Mrs. Dempewolf.

In Zambia, for example, the plant genetic resources center of the South African development community has offered farmers a type of grass called sorghum, which is used for flour and can grow rapidly in dry conditions.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean

The permafrost of the island means that the seeds must remain frozen in the vault, in the photo, even if the cooling installation of the facility - which maintains a temperature of -18 ° C - lost its power

The permafrost of the island means that the seeds must remain frozen in the vault, in the photo, even if the cooling installation of the facility - which maintains a temperature of -18 ° C - lost its power

The permafrost of the island means that the seeds must remain frozen in the vault, in the photo, even if the cooling installation of the facility – which maintains a temperature of -18 ° C – lost its power

WHICH SEEDS ARE ADDED TO THE SVALBARD VAULT?

Deposits in the collections of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault include seeds from 36 banks around the world, eight of which will make their first contributions this year, including from facilities in Morocco and South Korea.

Some of the new monsters come from the following groups.

Pictured, perennial ryegrass seeds

Pictured, perennial ryegrass seeds

Perennial ryegrass seeds shown

From Highgrove House through Garden Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens adds 27 wild plant species from the gardens of Prince Charles’s Highgrove House residence. Among these will be wild carrot (Daucus carota), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), red ulcer (Festuca rubra), clover (Trifolium sp.) And five species of orchid.

From the Cherokee Nation

The first Native American tribe to add to the safe collection, the Cherokee Nation, sends seeds of the corn they consider sacred, varieties of beans, and a pumpkin that stays fresh for up to a year without cooling.

From Germany

The Julius Kühn Institute, the German federal research center for cultivated plants, has sent their first seeds to Svalbard, including those of the European crab apple, Malus sylvestris, a wild relative of tame apples.

From India

The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, an Indian seed bank, will back up more than 2,800 samples – an addition to the 110,000 already stored in the global seed vault.

Pictured, the European crab apple, Malus sylvestris, whose seeds are added to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault by the German Julius Kühn Institute

Pictured, the European crab apple, Malus sylvestris, whose seeds are added to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault by the German Julius Kühn Institute

Pictured, the European crab apple, Malus sylvestris, whose seeds are added to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault by the German Julius Kühn Institute

Kew Gardens adds 27 wild plant species from the gardens of the Prince Charles Highgrove House residence, in the photo. Among these will be wild carrot (Daucus carota), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), red ulcer (Festuca rubra) and clover (Trifolium sp.)

Kew Gardens adds 27 wild plant species from the gardens of the Prince Charles Highgrove House residence, in the photo. Among these will be wild carrot (Daucus carota), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), red ulcer (Festuca rubra) and clover (Trifolium sp.)

Kew Gardens adds 27 wild plant species from the gardens of the Prince Charles Highgrove House residence, in the photo. Among these will be wild carrot (Daucus carota), English ryegrass (Lolium perenne), Red ulcer (Festuca rubra) and Clover (Trifolium sp.)

To date, the only recordings from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault have been made to supplement the collections of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) affected by the Syrian civil war.

Although they previously deposited seeds in the vault at Svalbard and elsewhere when the situation in Syria began to deteriorate, researchers with ICARDA lost access to their Aleppo seed bank in 2012 and moved their headquarters to Beirut, Lebanon.

The Syrian army has taken possession of the Aleppo vault, but it will not allow experts to examine the seeds that have remained there, the status of which is uncertain because the facility only had electricity to maintain its cooling systems until 2017.

Nevertheless, this is just the unforeseen event for which the Svalbard facility was designed – and the seeds extracted from the global vault are in “top form,” ICARDA former head Ahmed Amri told New Scientist.

With around 60,000 seeds, the final deposit in the vault collections will be the largest since the facility was opened in 2008

With around 60,000 seeds, the final deposit in the vault collections will be the largest since the facility was opened in 2008

With around 60,000 seeds, the final deposit in the vault collections will be the largest since the facility was opened in 2008

The new additions will be the first shipment since the vault was upgraded to make it future-proof against the ravages of climate change following floods at the end of 2016

The new additions will be the first shipment since the vault was upgraded to make it future-proof against the ravages of climate change following floods at the end of 2016

The new additions will be the first shipment since the vault was upgraded to make it future-proof against the ravages of climate change following floods at the end of 2016

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on a mountainside on Spitsbergen, an island in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean

Although the location of the Svalbard vault was chosen as ideal for the seed bank – with its cooling permrost, lack of tectonic activity and high enough to stay above sea level when the ice caps melt, it needed to be further protected.

Heavy rain and the melting of the permafrost – which both experts attributed to man-made climate change – led to the flooding of the facility’s access tunnel in October 2016, although fortunately the collections inside were not affected.

To prevent such future events, the vault has recently completed an upgrade of € 20 million (£ 16.7 million / $ 21.7 million), including the waterproofing of the access tunnel and other measures to combat rising temperatures.

In a statement, Prince Charles – pictured here on Highgrove with the late Princess Diana – said it is “more urgent than ever to act to protect this” [plant] diversity before it is really too late ‘

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