svalbard global seed vault, norway

Svalbard Global Seed Vault Norway


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure facility. It is located deep inside the permafrost of a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago of Norway. This effort is to preserve plant species from around the world. In case of a global disaster or other catastrophe, the vault offers safe storage of seeds for agricultural and medicinal use.

The seeds are donated by various organizations. They are stored in a cryogenic environment which can withstand temperatures from -18°C to 30°C. The vault is a critical global asset and one of the world's most important seed banks.

Overview of Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is situated in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. It holds millions of seeds and is embedded within layers of permafrost. The vault was created deep within a frozen mountain and opened in 2008. Over 500 000 samples from all continents have been stored. This global insurance policy protects the world's crop diversity and ensures global food security. Farmers can access genetic resources to produce varieties resistant to climate change and other challenges.

The vault is managed by Nordic Genetic Resource Center's (NordGen). Norway's Ministry of Agriculture and Food designated NordGen as the official bearer of the seed repository. NordGen provides guidance on how to best use their resources. They also advise researchers on permitted access methods for withdrawing samples.

The vault is safe from disasters such as fire, flooding, earthquakes, etc. It is an international trust fund under Norwegian law and is 400 feet above sea level. This protects against rising water levels due to climate change. The permafrost keeps temperatures below zero. So even if power goes out, the seeds are safe. The absolute humidity never exceeds 77-79%, preserving optimal storage conditions for the seeds.

Location and History

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault can be found in a remote Norwegian archipelago. It's located between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The vault is built into a mountain on Spitsbergen island, and only accessible by tractor or snowmobile.

The vault was created in 2008. It's an important conservation project, providing secure storage for 930,000 unique seeds from almost every known crop species.

In case of food crisis or climate change, the samples can be introduced to crops worldwide. This will help preserve diversity and ensure food security.

The site was chosen for its remoteness. It also has solid geology which provides natural temperature control, and requires less personnel for upkeep. Despite its remoteness, Svalbard is still easily accessible via aircraft from many European cities.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is nestled on a secluded island in Norway. It's a safe spot for scientists, governments, and organisations to store seeds to secure them. The Seed Vault's components are designed to protect the seeds from climate change, war, and catastrophes.

Let's delve into the features of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault:

Purpose of the Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located on an island off Norway's coast. It's a huge international storage facility designed to protect food crops from both natural and man-made disasters. It stores over one million crop samples from all continents. It's funded by the Norwegian gov and owned by the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT).

The vault safeguards against disasters such as nuclear war, pest epidemics, or other disasters. Governments or institutions can access these reserves for research or restoring local seed collections after a crisis. Some of the varieties in Svalbard may be useful for breeders who want disease resistance or higher yields in certain areas.

Design and Construction

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a safety storage for seeds in Longyearbyen, Norway's Svalbard archipelago. It is in a sandstone mountain on Spitsbergen island and was built to keep seeds safe from disasters natural or done on purpose.

Completed in 2008, it has three parts. The entrance tunnel is 361 feet long. It has its own system to keep snow, rain and melting ice away. It has two doors for extra protection.

The vault chamber has three rooms, each with walls and steel doors. The racks in each room can fit up to 4.5 million seed samples – each sample has 500 seeds.

The security system includes motion sensors and cameras that watch 24/7. The access tunnel has airlocks that need special keys to open each door. Someone from the vault must be with visitors at all times. This is for extra protection from unauthorised entry.

Capacity and Storage

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) can store over 4 million seed varieties. These are put in woven bags, 3-ply foil bags, boxes and metal shelving racks in the vault. Permafrost bedrock and cooled air keep the vault cool and dry, which is ideal for seed storage. Temperature and humidity are monitored by an automated facility and alerts are sent if they differ from preset parameters.

Teams of researchers rotate crops into the vault to keep collections current and replenished with new varieties. Security measures include locks, alarms and secure communications systems to protect the reserve.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault stands on the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard. It stores the globe's most vital agricultural crop seeds for safe-keeping. This is to preserve global food sources from extinction, in the case of a natural disaster or global catastrophe.

The importance of this seed bank stretches beyond protecting food supplies. It ensures the long-term conservation of these seeds. We will discover the importance of this seed bank in this article.

Global Impact

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) is a secure seed bank located in the Arctic Circle. It stores a vast variety of seeds from around the world. Its purpose is to keep important crop varieties safe for future generations, in case of emergency or catastrophe.

It has been designed to last 1,000 years. Anyone from anywhere can access it. Since 2008, it has stored over 1 million samples. It helps prevent future famine due to potential climate change. It also acts as research resource.

By 2032, 4 million samples are expected to be stored at SGSV. That's over 50% of all global crop gene diversity. High-level security systems protect its holdings from power outages and natural disasters.

The vault is a sign of global attention to preserving food sources. It shows an effort to meet long-term goals that will benefit mankind now and in the future. This is in addition to initiatives such as UNESCO's World Heritage Site Program.

Benefits of the Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault offers several advantages. One is to store the world's crop diversity securely, long-term. This safeguards our food supply against possible global disasters. As an internationally recognized sanctuary for global crop diversity, it's a key part of protecting against any potential plant loss.

By conserving diverse seed samples, it is possible to rapidly propagate life-saving seed varieties in response to disasters. The Seed Vault is also a resource for agricultural research. It holds seeds from many genebank collections – wild species, heirlooms, land races, and improved varieties.

They have distributed many seeds to developing countries, to help farmers protect local varieties and boost yields. Protecting crop diversity lets us be ready for change and difficulties. We can respond to diverse environmental conditions, by using samples stored in the Seed Vault. These samples will still be viable, even if damaged by freezing or contamination.


The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a safe spot in Norway. It houses seeds from all over the world. It guards plant diversity and protects a wide array of species.

Time to look at past, present, and future of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Also, its importance to the world now.

Summary of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Norway, high in the Arctic Circle. Its mission is to preserve and store seeds from thousands of crop varieties and act as an insurance policy against global disasters and acute food shortages. It also safeguards biodiversity of crops, preserving genetic material for future use.

Low-cost methods, such as embedded temperature sensors, measure, monitor and control conditions in the vault. It offers related services too. These include shared proficiency tests, training support for partners, and long-term inspections of seed samples stored at national seed banks.

Since its opening in 2008, over 27 million seed samples have been deposited from 150 countries. On average, it collects one million new seeds each year. This provides a crucial resource for farmers and agricultural researchers to access heirloom varieties and analyze soil health trends.

High-tech surveillance systems and ancient conservation practices, coupled with international cooperation, make the Svalbard Global Seed Vault a remarkable example of global conservation. It protects food security worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure repository located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. It is designed to store duplicates of seed samples from around the world in case of a catastrophic event that could wipe out important plant species.

Who operates the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is operated by the Norwegian government in partnership with the Crop Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving crop diversity.

What kinds of seeds are stored at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault currently stores over 1 million seed samples from around the world. These include samples from important food crops such as rice, wheat, and maize, as well as wild species that are important for maintaining ecosystems.

How secure is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in a remote, arctic location that is naturally cold and dry, which helps to preserve the seeds. It is also heavily fortified with multiple layers of security systems and can withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

How do scientists access seeds stored at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

Scientists can request samples from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault for research purposes. They must demonstrate that the seeds will be used for non-commercial purposes and agree to acknowledge the Crop Trust and the Norwegian government in any publications resulting from their research.

Can anyone visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is not open to the public, but visitors can view the facility from a viewing platform outside. However, visits must be arranged in advance and are typically limited to scientists, government officials, and journalists.

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