New initiative from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank to protect UK trees takes root

10th May 2013

With a host of new pests and diseases attacking the United Kingdom’s native treescape, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is tackling the threat by establishing the country’s first national collection of tree seeds – the UK National Tree Seed Project.

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have provided £100,000 in funding, seeds from the UK’s best loved and most vulnerable trees and shrubs will be collected and protected in long-term storage in the vaults of the Millennium Seed Bank facility at Wakehurst in Sussex. The Millennium Seed Bank already safeguards practically the entire UK flora in its vaults and works to restore native plants and trees to their natural habitats.

The Project will ensure that the collection of UK tree seeds already protected in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank will grow and become more comprehensive, eventually representing the full genetic diversity of the UK’s tree populations. These seeds will be available to research organisations working on solutions to the threats facing UK trees, such as the control of pests and diseases. Ultimately, these seed collections can be used for restoring trees to the UK countryside and increasing tree cover. The Forestry Commission is a key partner, providing advice on target species and help with collecting seeds.

For more information, go to the Royal Botanic Garden Kew website: http://www.kew.org/news/tree-seeds.htm

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