The first seed bank of Singapore that currently has a collection of 10,000 plant species, was officially launched on Saturday, July 13. This unique move was taken to protect the local and regional plants from being affected by climate change by storing and conserving the seeds.
Set up by the National Parks Board (NParks) in House 4, Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank is a result of an effort to use the seeds for habitat restoration and species conservation projects in the Republic as well as in other regions.
This bank has a storage capacity of up to 25,000 plant species, which is about half the total number of species in the region. It will also support the research works into the optimisation of seed storage methods, especially those of tropical plants.
Located at the fringe of Singapore's Orchard Road shopping district, the 160-year-old Singapore Botanic Garden is one of three gardens and the only tropical garden listed by the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee who attended the launch, said that since the world is facing the increased number of disease, natural disasters and climate change, "the natural dispersal mechanisms of seeds may not be enough."
He also appreciated NParks for taking a step to create a seed bank as a form of insurance against such threats. Desmond Lee further said that it has now enhanced the role of a garden in botanical conservation, research and education.
It should be noted that this seed bank has a seed biology lab, which includes a room for the seed processing and storage freezers. In that lab, the researchers will conduct studies on various methods to keep seeds collected from tropical plants.
This bank will also include guided tours and conduct public talks to enlighten people about the value and conservation of these seeds.
More than 1.17 million was raised to initiate the research and development of this bank and now the focus is to raise another $5 million over the next 10 years for conservation as well as research and educational purpose.