Luss Estates Collaborates with Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Millennium Seed Bank Project Kew

Luss Estates is pleased to facilitate the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) to collect seeds on behalf of the Millenium Seed Bank Partnership from Kew Gardens. 

RBGE is collecting Scottish seeds for the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew. The aim is to maintain viable seeds from at least one population of each UK native plant species, that regularly sets storable seed, to support a wider range of future uses including conservation and re-introduction if necessary. The team from RBGE are specifically looking for common native trees and shrubs including elm, bird cherry, holly, elder, hawthorn, honeysuckle and raspberry. 

Species rich habitats in the UK have been destroyed, degraded and fragmented and many also face pressures from climate change, invasive pests and diseases. The aim of this project is to build a diverse range of high quality, UK native-origin seed for research and conservation activities and as a result enable the expansion and linking of existing habitats. 

Collaborating with landowners and volunteers, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is working to increase the diversity of UK native plant species that are collected, seed banked and made available for wider use. This is currently achieved through the UK Flora Project, the UK National Tree Seed Project, and the UK Native Seed Hub. Seed is collected both by Kew’s own staff and by partner organisations, such as RBGE. It is then processed and stored at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), which already stores seed from over 30,000 plant species from across the globe.

This priceless collection will serve as a back-up in case these species are lost in the landscape. But it will also provide seed material for current research needs such as testing for disease resistance increasing our understanding of the biology and ecology of UK plant species. In the case of our most rare and threatened flora this provides the ability to undertake bona fide conservation and re-introduction projects.

In other cases, by using seed collections and associated seed production beds at the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place, the UK Native Seed Hub can provide seed and plants to appropriate, responsible, partners wishing to grow and use native species. The aim is to make an effective and genuine contribution to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in the UK. Material is supplied under licence on a cost recovery basis, with use restricted to sites where there is a high probability that the material will be able to form sustainable reintroduced populations whilst posing minimal risks to local habitats, species or ecotypes.

Kew is incorporated in the United Kingdom by the National Heritage Act 1983 and is an exempt charity whose scientific vision is to document and understand global plant and fungal diversity and its uses, bringing authoritative expertise to bear on the critical challenges facing humanity today. Kew is supported by the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (“Defra”), which is ultimately responsible to Parliament for Kew’s key aims and activities.

Environmental stewardship is one of the key aims of Luss Estates and as such we are delighted to be able to facilitate, in some small part, this important work. 

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