Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

seed vault entrance

Entrance to the seed vault.

Photo from the Global Crop Diversity Trust via IRIN

Today the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture shipped 7,000 seed samples from 36 different African countries to Oslo. On 26 February 2008 these seeds will be among the first to be put into the specially prepared vault deep in the permafrost near the village of Longyearbyen.

The seeds will be stored at –18 degrees Celsius in specially designed, five-ply aluminium foil packages inside sealed boxes stored on high shelves inside the vault. The low temperature and limited access to oxygen will ensure low metabolic activity and delay aging.

If there should be a disaster in the world affecting agriculture or the gene bank, the seeds will be there to provide some food security. They hope to have 4.5 million seed samples.

The collection and maintenance of the seeds is co-ordinated by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which has responsibility of ensuring the "conservation of crop diversity in perpetuity". The Norwegian government has built the vault at a cost of $9m (£4.5m), for the benefit of mankind.

Clearly RennyBA and TorAa aren't the only wonderful Norwegians in the world :)


  1. This is one of the most important scientific and historical efforts ever done.
    We do know to day, that everything stored magnetical/digital will vannish - but we hope for better technologies that can conserve our digital stored history for thousands of years. I hope so too. Else we will be - in a thousand years - a black hole - Like Teotihuacan in Mexico

    PS. pls read my into to my daughters experience with AA

  2. Hello Tor! Yes, the seeds are only one way of preserving something for the future.

    I was over on your blog commenting on Ingelin's trials at the same time as you were commenting here!

  3. What a great contribution to spread the words and I think its important that all continent donate their seeds for the vault.

    Thanks also for your nice compliment - I'm flattered.

    I posted about it too since I've been at Svalbard. myself.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin