China seed haven pro­tects en­dan­gered plants

Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Kun­ming: A lead­ing Chi­nese seed bank is ex­pand­ing to pro­tect en­dan­gered plants in China and abroad. The South­west China Germplasm Bank of Wild Species un­der the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Yun­nan Prov­ince is a re­search and preser­va­tion in­sti­tu­tion for rare and en­dan­gered plants. One of the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered species it pro­tects, the pi­nus squa­mata, or Qiao­jia pine, only has 29 trees left grow­ing in China. Founded in 2008 and dubbed “Noah’s Ark,” the cen­tre holds 67,800 sets of seeds for more than 9129 plant species from 45 coun­tries and re­gions. By 2020, it aims to ex­pand its col­lec­tion to 100,000 sets of seeds from 10,000 species, said Li Weiqi, deputy di­rec­tor of the cen­tre. The cen­tre cur­rently stores seeds from a third of China’s wild plants.

In Jan­uary this year, 346 species ar­rived at the cen­ter from the UK’s Royal Botanic Gar­dens at Kew. “This was the sixth round of for­eign seeds to ar­rive at our cen­tre,” said Mr Li. Cur­rently, the cen­tre holds 1197 sets of for­eign seeds, with each set con­tain­ing thou­sands of in­di­vid­ual seeds. The cen­tre co-op­er­ates with 85 re­search in­sti­tutes and preser­va­tion cen­tres across China. It also works with in­ter­na­tional part­ners, in­clud­ing Kew Gar­dens, in col­lect­ing backup spec­i­mens, ex­changes and re­search. Xin­hua

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