Saturday, May 6, 2017

Inside the Svalbard Seed Vault




Seeds from more than 930,000 varieties of food crops, are stored in the Global Seed Vault on Spitsbergen (an island above the Arctic Circle between Norway and the North Pole), essentially a huge safety deposit box, holding the world’s largest collection of agricultural biodiversity.


The Svalbard vault was opened in 2008. The idea was conceived in the 1980s by Cary Fowler, a former executive director of the Crop Trust, but only started to become reality after an International Seed Treaty negotiated by the U.N. was signed in 2001. Construction was funded by the Norwegian government, which operates the vault in partnership with the Crop Trust. The goal is to find and house a copy of every unique seed that exists in the global gene banks,soon the vault will make room for its millionth variety. 


The entrance leads to a small tunnel-like room filled with the loud whirring noise of electricity and cooling systems...required to keep the temperature within the vault consistent. Through one door is a wide concrete tunnel illuminated by strip lighting leading 430 ft. down into the mountain. At the end of this corridor is a chamber, an added layer of security to protect the vaults containing the seeds.There are three vaults leading off from the chamber, but only one is currently in use, and its door is covered in a thick layer of ice, hinting at the subzero temperatures inside. In here, the seeds are stored in vacuum-packed silver packets and test tubes in large boxes that are neatly stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves. They have very little monetary value, but the boxes potentially hold the keys to the future of global food security(1)


(1) Source

0 comments: