Botanists Collect Seeds to Save Plants

October 10, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. biodiversity (n.) [bahy-oh-di-vur-si-tee, ‐dahy‐] –  the existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species in their natural environments
Example: Forest destruction affects the earth’s biodiversity.

2. meadow (adj.) [med-oh] – an area of grassland
Example: The meadow is a perfect place to grow flowering plants.
3. variety (n.) [vuh-rahy-i-tee] – a group or collection of different things
Example: The museum contains a wide variety of artworks.

4. habitat (n.) [hab-i-tat] – a place or environment where a plant or animal usually lives
Example: Icy lands are the natural habitats of penguins and polar bears.

5. cultivate (v.) [kuhl-tuh-veyt] – to grow a plant
Example: Farmers usually cultivate crops during the rainy season.

Read the text below.

In an effort to save vanishing biodiversity in the UK, British botanists have started collecting and growing seeds of native plants.

Under the project called UK Native Seed Hub, botanists collect seeds from lowland meadows and semi-natural grassland to help commercial seed growers provide seeds to restoration groups. These groups use seeds to restore natural habitats in UK’s countryside, 98% of which have vanished since 1930s.

According to Paul Smith, head of the international conservation project Millennium Seed Bank, commercial seed growers cannot provide high quality seeds suitable for growth in the intended habitats. On the other hand, restoration groups do not have adequate financial and technical support to encourage companies to grow the right variety of seeds.

To help solve this problem, botanists from UK Native Seed Hub have started cultivating seeds on a small scale. Carefully selected seeds are grown in temporary seed beds located in a walled nursery at Wakehurst Place.  The seeds are then replanted to larger beds in preparation for a larger scale production.

UK Native Seed Hub is a four-year project done with the help of Millennium Seed Bank, an international project involving the storage and preservation of seeds from around the world. 

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What benefits can we get from plants?
·         Can we live without plants?

Discussion B

·         What are other factors that cause extinction of plants?
·         What things can we do to prevent extinction of plants?

October 10, 2011