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SHARJAH SEED BANK & HERBARIUM

Sharjah Seed Bank & Herbarium

The Sharjah Seedbank and Herbarium (SSBH) is seed banking native plant species of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah established the SSBH in 2009 with technical support from the Millennium Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. The SSBH was established with the objective to contribute to the conservation of natural habitats and native plant genetic resources in the region. Plants around the world are becoming increasingly threatened mainly due to habitat loss, over exploitation, climate change. Likewise, the native plants of UAE has been subjected to different types of threats, and some plants may face extinction risk from habitat loss due to impact of climate change, overgrazing by animals and urbanization. There is also serious concern worldwide about the decline in plant genetic resources due to various natural and anthropogenic threats. The increasing loss of habitat and endangerment of plant species requires conservation strategies that are effective and resource-efficient for plant diversity conservation. A key approach in the global effort to conserve plant genetic resources is long-term banking of seed in cold storage facilities.

Since its inception, the SSBH has made great progress in seed banking, herbarium collections and storage and research on various aspects of seed biology of UAE flora. Internationally recognized protocols are followed for collecting, processing and storing seed and herbarium vouchers. A vital element of the SSBH is establishing quality seed collections of native plant species. By the end of Season 6 (2017), the collection at SSBH stood at ca. 1710 Seed accessions, 4500 herbarium specimens from different region of the country and also published research in various international journal of repute. Housing samples from more than 50% of the UAE flora, the SSBH is today a true emerging national ex situ conservation facility. Collecting of seeds and herbarium specimens from the field is a continual activity of SSBH. Continuous efforts for conservation of biodiversity and the protection of endangered plant species are at the forefront of conservation strategies in UAE.

VISION

A future where UAE’s native plant diversity is valued, understood and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations.

MISSION

An effort to conserve UAE’s native plant diversity through sustainable collecting and storing seed germplasm, Herbarium collections, scientific research and knowledge sharing.

SSBH FOCUSES ON:

  • Exploring and securing UAE’s flora in ex situ seed collections;
  • Building representative herbarium collections;
  • DNA Barcoding UAE flora;
  • Seed biology & taxonomic research;
  • Genetic diversity studies, DNA bank;
  • Knowledge sharing to improve conservation and restoration outcomes; and
  • Capacity building for seed banking, seed science & molecular genetics researches.

 OUR STRENGTHS:

  • Field botanists have extensive experience
  • State-of-the-art seed conservation and herbarium facilities
  • Experienced researchers and active research programs in seed biology
  • International associations with conservation organizations & major botanic gardens