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Withdrawals occurred in 2015, 2017, and 2019 with seeds taken to ICARDA genebanks in Lebanon and Morocco. Re-germination and planting were very successful and new backup seeds have been redeposited in 2017, 2018, and 2019, with more to come.
The purpose of the vault
Maize. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Asian rice, oryza sativa. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Foxtail Millet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Our recent blog post, 18 Fun Fact s About Cannabis , mentioned that Bill Gates and other investors have secured a “doomsday seed vault” to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds. As promised, here’s more information on the famed vault.
Countries and organizations deposit seeds that are held for withdrawal at a future time. Each organization’s seeds are stored in the equivalent of safety deposit boxes. If disaster wipes out a crop and all locally stored seeds are not viable for whatever reason, a depositor can withdraw the saved seeds so the crop doesn’t become extinct.
A conservationist’s dream: Imagine a fail-safe seed vault deep underground in a sandstone mountain, designed to withstand natural catastrophes such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and drought as well as man- made disasters such as those caused by war. Crazy, huh?
Such a place exists. It’s called the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and it’s located on a remote island halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The idea behind the vault is that even though seed depositories are located around the world, all are vulnerable in one way or another. Hence the need for the catastrophe-proof Svalbard Global Seed Vault, aptly nicknamed the “Doomsday Vault,” that opened on February 26, 2008.
Just what is the “Doomsday Vault?”
The medicinal value of cannabis is still a hotly contested idea in North America, but enough countries see its value to send along some seeds to the doomsday seed vault in Norway.
According to analysis by Marijuana.com, researchers from 17 countries (including North Korea) who are preparing to replant the earth’s flora in the event of a worldwide catastrophe have collected 21,500 cannabis seeds — including 31 strains of marijuana and eight strains of hemp.
There are more cannabis seeds than asparagus, blueberry or raspberry seeds.