Australian bush fires: Royal Botanic Gardens storing seeds

07 February 2020

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UK/AUSTRALIA –  Seeds of almost 9,000 tree and plant species affected by the bushfires in Australia are being stored in the UK.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew – and its Millennium Seed Bank in Wakehurst in West Sussex – are working with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership.

About 12,450 seed collections of 8,900 Australian species – stored in local seed banks – have been duplicated and stored at Wakehurst so far.

At least 33 people were killed in the Australian bushfires.

More than 10.6 million hectares (26.2 million acres) of land have been affected in total across Australia.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a package of UK support, alongside Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, during a visit to Australia.

The support also includes the collaboration between the UK and Australian space agencies on preparedness, response and mitigation measures to fight wildfires.

At least 33 people have been killed in the fires across Australia which have destroyed more than 3,000 homes.

Kew Gardens has been working with the Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP) since 2000.

Dr Elinor Breman, senior researcher at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, said: “Kew’s scientists will work with the ASBP to conduct emergency seed collecting in areas devastated by the bushfires and longer-term germination research, which will hopefully aid the international effort to restore habitats more quickly in this precious and biodiverse region.”

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