5-speed listening (Seeds - Level 6)

Seed vault now has over a million species



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A special vault storing the world's most precious seeds has now amassed over one million different plant varieties. It recently took delivery of a consignment of seeds from 70,000 different crops. Global Seed Vault is buried deep in an icy mountain in the Arctic Circle area of Svalbard, Norway. It was started ten years ago to safeguard the future of the world's food supply. Climate change is causing more and more droughts around the world, which are threatening different species of plants. The vault holds back-ups of seed samples stored in other seed banks around the world. Hannes Dempewolf, a senior scientist at the Crop Trust, said: "Hitting the million mark is really significant."

Workers at the vault were not sure they would reach the million mark so soon. The crisis in Syria meant there was a shortfall of 90,000 seeds at the vault. The latest delivery to the vault included cereal staples. There were also more unusual crops like the onion potato from Estonia and the Bambara groundnut, which is being developed as a drought tolerant crop in Africa. Marie Haga, executive director of the Crop Trust, spoke about the importance of the vault. She said: "Safeguarding such a huge range of seeds means scientists will have the best chance of developing nutritious and climate-resilient crops that can ensure future generations don't just survive, but thrive."

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