International conference on seed banking of indigenous plants at the research centre of the academy of sciences

About 60 experts of 12 countries from the United Kingdom to Kazakhstan participate the international conference organized by the Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences at Vácrátót. The aim of the 2 day event starting on the 24th of February is the sharing of special seed bank management knowledge of experts from abroad institutions in order to enhance further development and expansion of the Pannon Seed Bank over our borders.

The Pannon Seed Bank project was launched in 2010 funded by the Life+ programme and the Ministry of Rural Development to achieve the long-term seed preservation of at least half of the indigenous vascular flora of the Pannonian biogeographical region. This accurately documented 'seed collection' preserved according to strict protocols enables us to re-introduce and complement populations becoming extinct or degraded because of for examle a natural disaster.

The Pannon Seed Bank is not only a static collection: it may facilitate access to research material without increasing the rate of disturbance on the original habitats, and assists in situ nature protection as an ex-situ safety storage. The main goal of this project is to collect seed samples which represent the flora of the Pannonian biogeographical region and save the wild ancestors of cultivated plant species the to-be-discovered in the future.

The project leader is the Research Centre for Agrobiodiversity, its partners are the Aggtelek National Park Directorate and the conference site provider Institute of Ecology and Botany, CER HAS. This latter institute is responsible for among other things the organizing and coordinating of seed collection, and storage of the duplicates of all preserved seed samples.