What is a Seed Bank ?
A seed bank in USA is a place where seeds are stored to preserve genetic diversity for the future. It’s estimated that 40% of plant species are vulnerable to extinction. A seed bank is a form of insurance, a way of maximizing the number of plant species we can save from this fate.
Seeds stored at the bank are owned by the collectors or the curators and the owners will know what needs to be done with the seeds. Seed banks provide conditions necessary for the longevity of seeds. Seeds are stored under low temperature that keeps dormant till they are needed for replanting. It is a critical necessity that diversity is preserved.
Crop extinction is inevitable with such extreme changes. If seeds are stored in seed banks, the danger of total elimination of certain species of crops is eliminated. Natural disasters are unforeseen events that could lead to complete annihilation of crops from the face of the earth. The foresight of keeping seeds in a seed bank in USA could save such a situation.
Advantages of keeping seed bank
- There is preservation of crop diversity and it is most important for storage of seeds.
- Protection from Climate Change for a couple of decades now, the world has witnessed radical climate change that has been accelerated by increased industrial pollution.
- Protection from Natural Disasters are unforeseen events that could lead to complete annihilation of crops from the face of the earth.
- Disease Resistance Crop Diseases are highly contagious and very deadly to plants. Storage of seeds with medication provide safety to seeds,
- Preservation from Man-made disasters.
Disadvantages of keeping seed bank.
- The preservation of seeds helps in providing a secure and safe environment in future but it also creates problems in preserving seeds in present.
- Transient seed banks are composed of species that produce seeds with a brief or no period of dormancy. Such seeds germinate prior to the next round of seed production and the seed bank is thus continually depleted and reestablished.
- Urban ecosystems are often warmer than other ecosystems that surround them, infiltration of rainwater into the local soil shows higher rates and amounts of surface runoff after rain and storms.
Urban communities tend to be dominated by medium-sized coyotes, opossums, skunks and other insects surviving across a wide range of environmental conditions. The weathering of soil during rain causes seed banks to get affected by loss of soil and minerals present in the soil.
The ecological similarity is a by-product of the structural similarities among urban environments, and of the intentional and accidental introduction of similar species into cities, suburbs and exurban areas and the water and nutrient subsidies provided by people and their activities.
The groups include the rodents, earthworms, shade trees, weeds and insect pests. The process of making a seed bank is ecological and biological in nature. Biological crusts carry out myriad ecological roles. They are important sources of fixed carbon in sparsely vegetated areas.
Cyanobacteria and Cyanolichens in the crusts convert atmospheric nitrogen into organic compounds that leak into surrounding soil, which is especially important in desert ecosystems where low soil nitrogen levels often limit plant growth. Crusts with roughened surfaces slow rainwater runoff and increase water infiltration into the soil. After sporadic rainfall, crust organisms and their mucilage absorb up and later release the water slowly into the soil.