Anyone with a basic understanding about our planet knows that it is being wracked with ever increasing natural calamities brought on by changing climates. Shifting weather patterns, increasing ocean temperatures and acidity levels, rapid sea level rise, famine, and drought are but a few of the consequences we face with the poor of the world taking the brunt of these environmental uncertainties.
In collaboration with other biodiversity projects around the world expeditions are sent to collect seeds from dryland plants.Where possible, collections are kept in the country of origin with duplicates being sent to the Millennium Seed Bank Project for storage. Major partnerships exist on all the continents, enabling the countries involved to meet international objectives such as the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations Environment Programme.
In April 2007, it banked its billionth seed, the Oxytenanthera abyssinica, a type of African bamboo. In October 2009, it reached its 10% goal of banking all the world's wild plant species by adding Musa itinerans, a wild banana, to its seed vault. As estimates for the number of seed bearing plant species have increased however, the current 31,880 species that have been banked represent 9.22% of the global total.
It would nice to hope that this type of endeavor could lead to even more international cooperation in other areas where it is desperately needed. Unfortunately, for all of us, that is way too much to hope for right now. But times change and circumstances have a way of forcing species to adapt quickly or go extinct. I just hope we realize what we need to do in time.