|Packed exhibition hall at BSBI Exhibition Meeting 2017
The Genebank55 poster is on the left.
Image: J. Mitchley
First up is a poster by Anna Farrell and Richard Gornall (University of Leicester Botanic Garden) about Genebank55, an initiative to conserve the seeds of locally threatened plants with a view to re-introducing them at some point in the future into suitable local receptor sites.
Richard said: "We have been losing plant species from our two counties, Leicestershire and Rutland (VC55) at an average rate of 1.5 per year. Some are down to a few individuals. One conservation approach is to take seeds of threatened species into the protective custody of a genebank. This allows the storage of large numbers of individuals from different local populations.
Image: Pete Stroh
BSBI members can read more about Genebank55 in the September 2017 issue of BSBI News, which focuses on one of the first beneficiaries of the initiative. It tells how twelve bulbs of what appears to be the last population in VC55 of Gagea lutea (Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem) were taken (with the landowner's permission and full co-operation) and have been grown on at the University of Leicester Botanic Garden. Although Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem is listed as of Least Concern on the England Red List, it is on the Rare Plant Register for Leicestershire & Rutland.
As the BSBI News article, by Richard, Anna and Dr Geoffrey Hall, County Recorder for Leics. & Rutland, points out, "Although there is a strong case to be made for better protection of wild plants by means of habitat management, there is also a good argument for ex situ conservation, either by growing the plants in botanic gardens or by storing seeds in gene-banks".
Take a look at the poster, which you can download from this page, and see what you think about this initiative. Leave a comment below!