Tuesday, December 05, 2006

svalbard international seed vault

The Norwegian Government has begun building a global vault for seeds on Svalbard. An archipalego 1000km from the North Pole. Seeds from the entire world will be put into frozen storage in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future. The seed vault will lie inside a mountain in a vault the size of a football field and house up to three million different types of seeds. Planning work started the autumn of 2005 and will continue throughout 2006. Construction will commence in early 2007 and the facility plans to open in September 2007.

“The plans for a seed vault in the permafrost on Svalbard have drawn international attention, both among scientists and the media. We are all interested in conserving biological diversity in agriculture, particularly crops that are of importance to the food supply. I think many countries will use the vault to improve their preparedness against plant diseases and other threats,” says Riis-Johansen.

Svalbard is viewed as well suited for the purpose because of its isolated location and permafrost that will ensure that the seeds are stored at freezing temperatures even if the refrigeration systems should fail.

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