SINGAPORE: Singapore is set to establish its first seed bank by the third quarter next year, in order to help conserve threatened plant species from around the region.
The dedicated facility - which will be located in the Singapore Botanic Gardens - will have the capacity to store up to 25,000 plant species, including rare orchids and native plants, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced on Saturday (Apr 21).
This amounts to about half the number of seed plant species in the region and nearly triple that currently found in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which has around 9,000 species.
When established, the bank will aim to collect, process and store around 100 seed collections annually.
"Decades from now, some of the plant species we’re familiar with today may not even be available because of this diminishing biodiversity due to climate change, disease and all sorts of reasons," said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who announced the initiative at the launch of the Singapore Garden Festival Orchid Show at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
"So seed banking is a form of insurance for plant biodiversity. It ensures that seeds will be available in the future for research and restoration projects," Mr Wong said. "The seed bank will enable the Botanic Gardens to support species reintroduction efforts throughout the region."
The facility will be housed within a conserved colonial-style house in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and will include a seed biology lab, rooms for seed processing and storage freezers for seeds.
Visitors will also be able to learn more about seed banking and conservation at educational galleries, NParks said.
The Singapore Garden Festival Orchid Show is a nine-day festival that will showcase more than 100 varieties of native and regional orchids.
Organised by NParks and the Orchid Society of South East Asia, the event is an offshoot of the biennial Singapore Garden Festival, which will run for two weeks from Jul 21 to Aug 3.