Seed and Tissue Bank Programs
Acadia Seed Bank
Native plant species around the world are becoming increasingly threatened due to habitat loss, over exploitation, climate change, disease outbreaks, and competitive pressure from invasive species. There is also serious concern worldwide about the potential risks to food security due to over-reliance on relatively few cultivars of crop plants and the decline in biodiversity through loss of wild relatives. A key strategy in the global effort to conserve the biodiversity of plant species is the long term banking of seed in various types of cold storage facilities. Some of the largest seed banks include Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway (crop plants), and the Millennium Seed Bank in England (native plants). Canada currently maintains several seed bank/genetic resource facilities, but with an emphasis on agricultural crops, fruit crops, and forest trees.
The Acadia Seed Bank is focussed on conservation of native plants from within the Acadian Forest Region and its associated wetlands. To date, more than 75 native species have been collected, stored, and tested, including many rare and endangered species. Acadia students have been extensively involved in seed bank related activities, through volunteering, internships, and academic requirements for their degree programs. In addition, numerous staff and other volunteers, such as the Friends of the Acadian Forest Society, have been active in advancing the seed bank program over the past few years.