BGCI and Terraformation launch partnership to provide new seed banks to support global reforestation initiatives
WAIMEA, HAWAII (January 28, 2022) – Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the world’s largest plant conservation network, representing over 650 institutions and more than 60,000 experts, and Terraformation, a global reforestation company which partners with communities worldwide to help solve climate change by rapidly scaling native ecosystems, are today launching a partnership which aims to significantly increase access to seeds around the world and drive initiatives to reforest the planet.
The new partnership will see BGCI and Terraformation increase access to seeds by equipping botanic gardens with new modern seed banks which can be shipped anywhere in the world. The partnership will aim to drive a new wave of global restoration projects by addressing one of the key bottlenecks to reforestation. This will also include matching projects with sponsors that will directly support the restoration work that provides benefits to the environment and local communities for years to come.
The seed banks are stored in recycled shipping containers and contain software applications to track seed collection and organize species. Through greater distribution of seeds, the partnership will increase the availability of a wider diversity of native tree species, as well as increasing the representation of threatened tree species, which is vital in maintaining levels of biodiversity.
Jill Wagner, Chief Forestry Officer at Terraformation, added: “A lack of access to seeds is one of the critical barriers to global reforestation. This partnership marks important progress towards democratising the way people access seeds. Even more crucially, it means we are providing groups around the world with the diversity of seed species to ensure we are restoring the forests of tomorrow with all of the diversity in the forests that came before, which is vital for carbon sequestration.”
The partnership between BGCI and Terraformation will:
As well as significantly improving access to seeds, the combination of BGCI’s data and global network of partners with Terraformation’s equipment and tech will lead to a wave of new well-designed reforestation initiatives that capture carbon, bring livelihood benefits and secure a future for the world’s threatened trees.
In addition to access to seeds, collection is also seen as a crucial pillar of reforestation work. The ability to collect, grow and plant species facing extinction will ensure diversity can be maintained in future, which is a key factor for successful carbon sequestration projects.
Kirsty Shaw, Head of Ecological Restoration and Tree Conservation at BGCI, said: “This will make a real difference to reforestation initiatives. Many of our partners are carrying out reforestation projects that demonstrate that putting biodiversity first really does deliver amazing outcomes, for nature, for people and for carbon. These seed banks will enable botanic gardens to act as seed supply and training hubs, and significantly scale up their reforestation work.
Botanic garden and seed bank collections provide protection against extinction in the wild, but also provide a valuable source of material for propagation and restoration programmes.
BGCI’s report - The State of the World’s Trees - found that 30% of the world’s tree species are threatened with extinction. That’s more than 17,500 tree species, and equates to more than the world’s total number of species of birds and mammals put together. The report also found that just 21% of threatened tree species are represented in at least one botanic garden or seed bank collection so far. A key role for these seed banks will be to fill this gap by collecting, storing, propagating and planting a much wider range of threatened species.
The partnership will aim to address tree species extinctions and in the process significantly aid reforestation efforts around the world.
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About Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is the world’s largest plant conservation network, representing over 650 institutions and more than 60,000 experts. In collaboration with the IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group, BGCI is delivering the Global Tree Assessment, and in September 2021 published the State of the World’s Trees - the first comprehensive assessment of all of the world’s c.60,000 tree species. In collaboration with Fauna & Flora International, BGCI leads the Global Trees Campaign which has carried out conservation actions for more than 400 threatened tree species in over 50 countries and trained more than 10,000 people in tree conservation skills. BGCI coordinates the Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens, a global consortium of botanic gardens actively engaged in ecological restoration, many of whom are leading species-diverse forest restoration projects. In collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and other botanic garden partners, the Ten Golden Rules for Reforestation were recently published which have been adopted by many tree planting organisations worldwide.. BGCI also coordinates the IUCN/SSC Seed Conservation Specialist Group with a mission to promote seed conservation by providing a network for knowledge-sharing in different ecosystems around the world, aiding prioritisation, capacity building and development of best practices.
Terraformation’s mission is to reverse climate change by restoring 3 billion acres of global native forest ecosystems. Terraformation partners with organizations across the world, equipping them with the tools and training they need to drive successful restoration and rapidly hyperscale their efforts. The company has developed solutions to the biggest barriers to large-scale restoration, including solar-powered desalination systems, and modular seed banks to process and store millions of seeds. It is also developing an open-source software suite to streamline progress and educational programs to train more experts. Terraformation currently partners with organizations across five continents, including in South America, East Africa, and Central Asia.
Angela Jo Tu