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Posts tagged: USFS National Seed Laboratory

A Tree in a Time Capsule

Gene Conservation poster

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosts a free workshop on gene banks for conservation of tree species in Chicago, IL, May 16-19, 2016. Details are available at

The story of Super Girl being placed in a pod on Krypton and fired off to earth to help save her cousin and at least some of her species is science fiction. But for many species the danger of extinction from climate change, habitat destruction, or invasive exotic pests is the real deal.

At an upcoming Gene Conservation Workshop experts will discuss different ways to safeguard species from climate change and other threats. For forest tree species that are experiencing rapid declines due to invasive exotic pests or climate change, long term seed storage is our best hope so that they can be returned to the wild once a control is found. Read more »

Laughing All the Way to the Seed Bank

Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest.  (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)

Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest. (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)

Everyone wants to have a full bank account — including bank accounts that hold seeds.

The U.S. Forest Service recently held a workshop with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources in Dry Branch, Ga., focusing on ways to increase the capacity to develop and maintain a seed bank for reforestation in the Dominican Republic.

The workshop discussed methods and approaches to compiling the seeds and best practices for preservation.  The workshop included seed biology and procedures that contribute towards the success of the bank.  Dry Branch is the home of the USFS National Seed Laboratory. Participants of the workshop will manage the Nigua Seed Bank in the Dominican Republic.  Official protocols for seed purity throughout the Dominican Republic were drafted for the new seed bank based on workshop outcomes.

Technical expertise was provided by the Forest Service with the help of an agreement with the US Agency for International Development.  Through the agreement, the Forest Service aids in equipment administration as well as the training of staff and facility management.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Dominican Republic enacted the Forestry Action Plan in 1991 that established the goal of becoming a self-sufficient timber and fuelwood producer by 2016.  The seed laboratory work will contribute to the achievement of this goal and the forestry improvements that the nation plans to make towards reforestation.

In November, an unprecedented Presidential Decree was passed to solidify the Government’s commitment to biological diversity and protected area habitat conservation.  The seed bank workshop contributed to these goals.

For more information on these and other projects, take a look at the U.S. Forest Service International Programs website.