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Issue Number #36
Issue Date Spring 2006
Number of Articles Online 1 Articles
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Title Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre
Author James Wood

2005 saw the beginning of an ambitious new conservation program here in Tasmania. Three Tasmanian bodies (the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, the Vegetation section of DPIW and the Tasmanian Herbarium) combined their expertise and entered into the Millennium Seed Bank Project (MSBP).

The MSBP is a 10 year, global conservation program lead by the Seed Conservation Department of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the UK. The MSBP seeks to safeguard 24,000 different wild plant species by the end of 2009 by establishing seed banks around the world.

The Tasmanian MSBP program is called Seedsafe and it aims to collect 800 wild plant species and establish a seed bank facility within the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.

In April of 2005 Seedsafe's seed collector Micah Visiou began work harvesting seed material. Meanwhile work began in the Gardens to create a seed banking facility and in August 2005 the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre (TSCC, the name for our seed bank) was officially opened. In December 2005, I, James Wood, took the post of Seed Bank Coordinator, leaving my former job at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank.

As well as our MSBP collecting targets the Seedsafe group seeks to actively participate, wherever relevant, with plant conservation programs within Tasmania and establish itself as an essential aid and resource for Tasmanian plant conservation effort by 2010 and beyond.

The material we collect will routinely be tested for quality by the use of germination tests. These tests will be carefully run at the TSCC laboratory and all data will be recorded. This means that the process will generate a valuable body of data on the germination behaviour of our native flora. Also collaboration is to be developed with the University of Tasmania to promote more study of Tasmanian seeds.

For more information on the MSBP please visit http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/msbp

For more information on the TSCC please visit http://www.rtbg.tas.gov.au/tas_seed_conservation.html

Understorey Network members can assist the seed conservation centre by reporting on the location of priority plant species with seed this summer. Listed below are some of the priority plants to watch out for. (Listed only to genus here - for a complete list of species contact Ruth Mollison.)

Family ASTEREACEAE Brachyscome sp. (daisies)
Family CYPERACEAE Carex sp. (sedges)
Schoenus sp. (bogsedges)
Family ONAGRACEAE Epilobium sp. (willowherbs)
Family PLANTAGINACEAE Plantago sp. (plantains or docks)
Family SCROPHULARIACEAE Veronica sp. (speedwell)
Family VIOLACEAE Viola sp. (violets)

If you spot a good population or sites with multiple seeding targets please contact one of the following people:

James Wood, Seed Bank Coordinator, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Phone: 03 6236 3079

Micah Visoiu, Seed Collection Officer, Vegetation Section DPIW. Phone: 03 6233 6702


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