Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a backup for even a doomsday!
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a facility that stores seed samples in a secure vault in a mountain not far from the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, a remote northern island of Europe’s Norway.
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built as a backup for worldwide flora, particularly crops, in the case of a natural disaster, war, disease or other phenomena wiping out a certain seed or crop plant, or a whole seed bank.
- Three organisations manage the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – the Norwegian Government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and NordGen (Nordic Genetic Resource Center).
- The construction of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault first commenced in mid 2006, a day commemorated by the Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian prime ministers laying down the first brick; and the building was complete and had its official opening on the 26th February 2008.
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is named after the archipelago ‘Svalbard’, of which the Spitsbergen island where the vault is located is a part, and the site was chosen for its natural preservation characteristics of sub-zero ground temperatures; a structurally stable environment; and significant height above sea level.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Image courtesy of Landbruks/Flickr
- At the entrance face and the roof of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, there is an illuminated artwork which includes reflective metals to aid visibility from a distance; and the vault covers an area of around 1,000 square metres (10,764 square feet) and sits at an elevation of 130 metres (427 feet).
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault cost a total of US $9 million, which was financed solely by the Norwegian Government, and the building is said to be safe from nuclear bomb threats, earthquakes and other major catastrophes.
- Norway does not own the seed contents of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, as it works much like a bank safety deposit box, in that whoever deposits the seeds, owns the seeds.
- In 2015, there were around 5100 species over 860,000 samples, where a sample consists of around 500 individual seeds, in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and this figure grows each year, while the facility has the space to accommodate 4.5 million varieties or 2.5 billion seeds.
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was constructed under the initiative of American Carly Fowler, an agriculturalist, in conjunction with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.