Hundreds of plant species around the world were backed up at a “doomsday vault” in Svalbard, Norway, the first big deposit to the Arctic facility since an upgrade to future-proof it against climate change. The seeds of onions from Brazil, guar beans from central Asia and wildflowers from a meadow at Prince Charles’s home in the UK are among the species being safeguarded at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, housed in a mountain cavern about 1200 kilometres from the North Pole. Around 60,000 new seed samples were added, taking the total to more than a million. The vault is designed as the ultimate insurance policy for restoring crop diversity to smaller seed banks around the world after extreme weather, conflict, fire and other events. The first withdrawal from the bank took place in 2015, to help conservationists who lost access to a major seed bank in Aleppo in the Syrian civil war.
- New Scientist -