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The Conversation: After Svalbard: why safety of world seed vaults is crucial to future food security

Biosciences 7 July 2017

Sr Stuart Thompson

Dr Stuart Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry in the Faculty of Science and Technology wrote an article for the Conversation on the necessary protection of the Svalbard seed vaults.  

Following the recent floods in the flood proof seed vaults in Svalbard in northern most Norway Dr Thompson wrote on the necessity of protecting these vaults to guard against future food crisis. “It had not been thought that the flooded section needed to be waterproof” wrote Dr Thompson.  

Warning readers he said: “It is estimated that we have to increase food production by 70% by 2050, and achieve this despite changing weather patterns and the spread of new crop diseases due to global warming. Seed banks and other stores of plant diversity are crucial for preserving the range of characteristics that we will need for this challenge.”

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway has recently suffered a number of floodings but “despite global warming, Svalbard will still be a good place to store seed and one of the best places for it to survive a Doomsday scenario in which power for refrigeration is lost” continues Dr Thompson,  “however, in the face of climate change, it may not be as secure as we had hoped.”

Read the full article on The Conversation website.

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