Western Australia has become the first partner in a global seed conservation program to meet one of the international targets for conserving threatened plants.
Environment and Climate Change Minister David Templeman said the achievement positioned WA as a world leader in conservation.
“It is fitting that we celebrate this important milestone on the International Day for Biological Diversity,” Mr Templeman said.
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, has set a target for 60 per cent of threatened plant species to be in accessible seed collections, preferably in the country of origin, and for 10 per cent of them to be included in recovery programs by 2010.
The Department of Environment and Conservation’s Threatened Flora Seed Centre now holds seed collections from more than 70 per cent of the State’s threatened (declared rare) flora species.
“WA is the first place in the world where both aspects of this target have been met,” the Minister said.
The Millennium Seed Bank Project is a global seed conservation initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the United Kingdom and has the aim of collecting and conserving seeds of 10 per cent of the world’s dryland seed-bearing plants - about 24,000 species - by 2010.
DEC and the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority are partners in the project, which also includes other Australian States and the Northern Territory.
The Minister said the Millennium Seed Bank provided a safe ‘back-up’ to the State’s own seed storage facilities.
“DEC has also established ‘seed orchards’ for a number of critically endangered species to help conserve the State’s threatened species,” he said.
“WA’s membership of the project has enabled DEC and the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority to expand their capacity to store and study seed as well as raising the international profile of the State’s seed conservation activities.”
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