Our planet is beautiful and we try to do everything we can to protect it. But how do we defend our vegetation it if there’s a natural disaster? Or quite possibly a man- made global disaster where species of plants are wiped out?
Well, you may not think there’s a back up plan to protect plants- but there is – deep in the Arctic in fact and it’s called The Global Seed Vault.
The 100m deep building is set into a mountain in Svalbard and can hold up to a staggering 2.5 billion seeds. The secure structure is the only one of it’s kind in the world as it duplicates seed samples from the world’s crop collections. This clever concept means most plants are ‘backed up’ in case other crop collections are unexpectedly destroyed or damaged.
The Arctic location is geologically perfect to protect the supply – the constant permafrost in the ground holds temperatures around -18’c which ensures samples stay frozen without power. The low humidity atmosphere also ensures the seeds stay in a good condition
Every sample is carefully packed, stored and sealed in special foil packages, kept safe in storage boxes and carefully placed on shelves. The Black Box System ensures that only the keeper can access their seeds, so security levels are high.
However, not everyone can just store seeds in this exclusive facility. The Seed Vault will only accept samples that are shared under the Multilateral System, originated in the country of the depositor, or comply to Article 15 of the International Treaty.
Seeds have already been withdrawn due to war in Syria, where crops were damaged in 2015. The country has since replaced the seeds in the vault to keep up the supply.
The public are not permitted inside the vault, but can take a virtual tour via their website to learn more about how the seeds are providing answers against future threats such as food supply and population growth.
The constant threat to the planet means that researchers and academics are constantly scanning the landscape for data and information of our surroundings. A scientist Professor, Geir Gabrielsen explained how the surface water in parts of the arctic in 2006 was nearly 12 degrees, and how food chains are struggling due to plastics in the ocean. To read more about the growing problem of plastic pollution please click here.
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