The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a protected seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It's 1,000 km (620 mi) away from the North Pole. It's the world's biggest secure seed storage facility. Its purpose is to safeguard a great variety of plant species in case of global disaster.
Cary Fowler founded this vault to guarantee food security and biodiversity in the event of unexpected occurrences. This article will examine the history of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, as well as Fowler's and other key players' motivations for the project:
Background of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established to keep the world's seeds safe for a long time. It is located on the island of Spitsbergen, in Norway's Svalbard archipelago. It is a project between private seed banks, regional genebanks and governments.
The idea of having safe deposit boxes – to preserve food crops – came from philanthropist and entrepreneur Gary Greener. In 1996, he thought of having a secure global seed vault. He then met with the Spitsbergen International Seed Bank (SISB). They worked on creating an underground facility where millions of seed samples could be stored.
In 2008, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was opened by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. It is situated in the Arctic Circle, away from major populations. It has subzero temperatures all year round, which is why it has been called the “Doomsday Vault”. It provides a safe place for vital agricultural diversity.
The site is managed by an international consortium, including locals and global institutions like Crop Trust, Nordic Gene Bank (NGB) and Bioversity International. However, the day-to-day operations are now handled by Røstbrua AS (Røstbrua Foundation), under terms negotiated by Norway’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food since 2016.
Cary Fowler, an American environmentalist and agriculturalist, is the founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It's located on an Arctic Svalbard archipelago island, close to the North Pole.
This seed bank is a secure storage system for global food security. Let's look at Cary Fowler's history to understand why he created the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
Who is the founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
Ole Danbolt Mjøs, a Norwegian philanthropist and businessman, is the founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This secure seed storage facility is located on the remote island of Spitsbergen, between Norway and the North Pole. It was established in 2008 to store crop diversity and safeguard against disasters.
Mr. Mjøs has been active in plant conservation and food security for over 30 years. He led the Fridtiof Nansen Institute (FNI) and supported major international biodiversity initiatives. For his work, he has had international recognition such as an honorary doctorate from the University of Oslo and a Lifetime Leadership Award from World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The Emmy Noether Distinction Award was presented at the Copenhagen 2019 Climate Summit in Denmark. It was in recognition of his efforts towards promoting sustainable economies and initiatives that address environmental concerns.
Ole Danbolt Mjøs will always be remembered for founding the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It stands as a great solution to food insecurity and shows that one person can make a lasting impact on the natural world.
What motivated him to create the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
Åsmund Asdal, the Founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, was inspired to create it. He had realized that some vital plant and crop seed varieties were vanishing. He was particularly worried about the disappearance of diverse crop varieties developed over centuries. These are especially useful for small-holder farmers in developing countries.
So, he thought of a secure, connected global seed bank. This would let future generations access these resources. It could also help in times of crisis and unpredictable environments. With the help of organizations, like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, Mr. Asdal planned a solution. This could protect against pandemics or mass extinctions caused by natural disasters or climate change.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened on Feb 26th 2008. Its mission was to store irreplaceable crops from any country, in case individual local seed banks become defunct or unavailable due to an emergency or natural disaster. Crop Trust runs the vault. They manage donations and responsible access services between governments and farmers worldwide. Plus, they research sustainable agriculture production techniques.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure facility. It is situated on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. Its purpose? To store seed samples from everywhere in the world. This is a back-up, in case of global crisis, for food supply.
The vault was founded in 2008 by the Norwegian Government Director and Chairman of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Ole Henrik Magga. He is credited with creating the Global Seed Vault.
Now, let's explore the facility, its purpose and its founder.
What is the purpose of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, known as the Doomsday Vault, is a secure seed bank located near Longyearbyen, Norway. It was established in 2008 to protect the world's crop diversity in case of potential catastrophes or climate change in the future. It contains 890,000 different types of seeds from every corner of the planet. They can be used for food sources or conserving endangered species and crops.
The Vault is designed for protection and conservation for centuries, with reinforced concrete walls, low temperatures, airtight containers and fail-safe storage technology. With backups onsite and offsite, digital copies are stored around the globe in different databases. It has permafrost below 0°C (32°F) which will protect its contents from extreme heat if all electricity fails. When power sources are operational, temperatures are kept between -18°C (-0.4°F) and -20°C (-4°F).
How does the Svalbard Global Seed Vault work?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, known as “the Vault“, is an underground seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It was established in 2008 to secure and store backup copies of seeds from all over the world.
The Vault is three stories tall and carved into the sandstone mountainside. Seeds are stored in cold temperatures at -18°C (0°F). There is no active cooling system, instead nitrogen gas and permafrost protect the seeds. Every seed is scanned, digitally tracked and containerized for storage.
Seed depositors maintain ownership of their deposited seeds and can ask for them back anytime. Norway's ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) ensures this. This allows researchers all over the world to access samples and contribute to food security on Earth.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a giant facility, located in the depths of Norway's Arctic. Inside, it stores over 1 million types of plants from around the world. Dr. Cary Fowler created it to protect crops from catastrophes, such as climate change and other unexpected disasters.
Let's explore how this vital project affects food security globally:
What impact has the Svalbard Global Seed Vault had on global food security?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) was opened in 2008 by the Norwegian Government. It securely stores approximately a million kinds of agricultural crop seeds from all over the world, which are kept beneath the mountain on Spitsbergen, an island in Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago.
The goal is to make sure diverse crop varieties remain available to farmers, gardeners, and scientists. This way, they can experiment with different methods of growing, and preserve valuable genetic material in case of future disasters. Currently, it stores nearly a third of all existing seed varieties, making it the largest collection of crop diversity on Earth.
The huge preservation effort has had a massive impact on global food security. It provides a failsafe option against natural or man-made disasters that could leave populations without food or put them at risk with new pests or diseases from unsecured seed stocks. It also maintains genetic biodiversity, giving farmers access to plant varieties they can use for breeding and genetic experimentation for new disease-resistant strains or plants with improved nutritional content.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault serves as an insurance policy for preserving endangered plant species and varieties. This ensures global food security now and in the future, by providing access to old yet increasingly valuable seed stocks.
What challenges has the Svalbard Global Seed Vault faced?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in 2008. It's in Norway, on the Arctic Ocean's Svalbard archipelago. Its purpose is to store and protect seeds from extinction due to natural disasters or human interference.
Climate change has caused rising temperatures and more stormy weather around Svalbard. This led to flooding and water damage in the vault. To protect against this, operators simulate flooding scenarios every year since 2018. They also added concrete reinforcements at low points where leaks occurred.
In 2019, heavy rains caused an interior landslide. This highlighted limitations with the vault's air lock door. So, they built a new door in 2020. They also did topography mapping research to reduce any risk of groundwater entering due to possible permafrost thawing near the tunnel.
Developing countries often lack transport logistics and trust in foreign governments. This stops them from using or sending their own seeds for storage. To help, officials opened regional genebanks. They also created plans for improved trust protocols, and reliable procedures for exchanging data about crop materials. This helps with global agriculture diversity preservation.
Cary Fowler from Tennessee, USA, is the founder of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This incredible feat entombs a treasure trove of genetic diversity for millions of crop species. It stands as a testament to humanity's commitment to food security.
Fowler demonstrated a proactive approach to protect the species from extinction. He also safeguarded the foundations of global agricultural food systems.
Summary of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established in 2008. It's located on the remote island of Spitsbergen, Norway. It safeguards the biodiversity of crop plants. It has over 1 million different types of crop seeds, representing over 4500 species. It's built deep inside a frozen mountain to keep the seeds preserved.
Cary Fowler founded it and various foundations and organizations funded it. These include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Crop Trust and Google.org. Its mission is to protect agricultural biodiversity for future generations by providing backup copies for gene banks. It also helps protect against crop disease outbreaks and climate change impacts that can threaten vital crops. It's an invaluable resource for global food security.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure facility located on a remote island in Norway that serves as a backup to the world's crop seed collections in case of natural or man-made disasters.
Who founded the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was founded by Cary Fowler, a conservationist and agriculture expert.
Why was the Svalbard Global Seed Vault created?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was created to preserve the world's crop diversity and ensure food security in the face of climate change, natural disasters, and other threats to the world's food supply.
What types of seeds are stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault stores a wide variety of crop seeds, including wheat, rice, maize, and other important crops, as well as wild species that have potential for use in agriculture.
How are the seeds stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
The seeds are stored in special packages in a series of underground chambers, kept at a constant temperature of -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit) to ensure their long-term preservation.
Who has access to the seeds stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?
The seeds stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault are owned by the countries and institutions that deposited them, and can only be withdrawn with their permission.