Today I attended the first day of a workshop at Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra to plan and fund seedbanking in Australia. Progressively since 2001, the major botanic gardens in Australia, along with various environment departments and other partners, have set up seedbanks for our native plants in most capital cities.
The seedbanks are funded through a mix of State, Commonwealth and Local Government funds, sponsorship and philanthropy, and a large contribution by the Millenium Seedbank (at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in the United Kingdom). The Millenium Seedbank has been critical in establishing many of the seedbanks and in establishing a network with the slightly sporty name of 'AUSCAR'.
All very good, but the first stage of Millenium Seedbank funding is coming to an end. The Australian seedbanks need to find local funding, as well as work with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to secure more international support if possible.
The meeting today was very productive and the group will consider the various governance options on offer - including having the multi-partnered AUSCAR report up to the Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens, then through to a Ministerial Council committee. While the Climate Change Strategy produced recently by the Botanic Gardens (see below somewhere...) will be an important part of this reporting, the seedbank has many environmental applications.
More on this later but the group today was enthusiastic about the future of seedbanking.