SANTO DOMINGO – The National Botanical Garden (NBG)’s seed bank aims to protect the more than 6,000 plant species native to the Dominican island of Hispaniola.
The goal of the bank – which was created in 2007 – is to preserve the region’s germoplasm for research purposes, as well as to promote reproduction, reinsertion, habitat recovery and education using widely accepted protocols established by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
NBG director Ricardo Garcia told EFE that, while other similar projects are focused on cultivation, this seed bank fundamentally aims to protect the flora native to Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, placing special attention on plants facing extinction.
The NBG partnered with technicians with the UK Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, who helped in the construction and management of the seed bank.
The bank “guarantees the conservation” of the island’s flora to counteract the effects of climate change, Garcia said, adding that the institution is an important resource to help Haiti, a country that has lost more than 70 percent of its forests.
Hispaniola also shares plant species with Cuba and Puerto Rico, which may resort to the institution to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters, such as last year’s Hurricane Maria, the director said.