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The aim of the project is to bank seeds from 10 per cent of the world’s rarest species

Press Release - 06 May 2008

Expert from Kew Gardens to talk on saving the rarest plant species

Local people are invited to a talk exploring safe seed storage techniques developed at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, at a free public lecture at the University of Bath on Wednesday 21 May 2008 at 5.15pm (5 West, 2.3).

Now approaching the end of its first phase, the Millennium seed bank project (MSBP) at Kew is the largest programme of its kind ever conceived. The objective is to bank seeds from 10 per cent of the world’s rarest, most threatened and useful wild plant species by the end of the decade.

“The seeds will be used to provide a wide range of benefits to mankind, ranging from food and building materials for rural communities to disease-resistant crops for agriculture,” said Steve Alton, who runs the seed conservation programme at Kew.

“With future climate change scenarios and the ever-increasing impact of human activities, the MSBP intends to accelerate its activities to secure safe storage for 25 per cent of the world's plant species by 2020.”

Steve Alton is a biologist and author who, for the last 11 years, has run seed conservation programmes in places as far flung as the UK, Mauritius, New Zealand and the Falklands. Prior to that, he was a nature reserve manager and conservation officer for a wildlife charity in Nottinghamshire.

Admission for the lecture is free and people can just turn up on the day. Free parking is available in the West Car Park. The lecture runs from 5.15pm until 6.15pm in the lecture hall 5 West 2.3 on the Claverton campus.

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