Seed banking is more applicable to the preservation of tropical montane flora than previously assumed: A review and cloud forest case study

Hoyle, Gemma L., Sommerville, Karen D., Liyanage, Ganesha S., Worboys, Stuart, Guja, Lydia K., Stevens, Amelia V., and Crayn, Darren M. (2023) Seed banking is more applicable to the preservation of tropical montane flora than previously assumed: A review and cloud forest case study. Global Ecology and Conservation, 47. e02627.

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The science is clear – significant reductions in tropical montane (TM) habitats are projected to occur by the end of this century. Urgent action is needed to build the resilience of TM flora and understand its adaptive capacity to climate change. Seed banking is the most widely employed ex situ conservation tool, providing insurance against plant species extinction and germplasm for associated research. However, tropical forest floras are grossly under-represented in seed banks due to historic assumptions and generalisations regarding collection, storage and germination of tropical forest seeds. In Australia, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of northeast Queensland contains tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF) in which > 70 endemic, seed-bearing species are at high risk of extinction. To mitigate this risk, we synthesised current seed science knowledge from TM plant communities around the world and examined what we know about collection, storage behaviour and germination of TM seeds. Included are our own preliminary investigations into seed banking of Australian TMCF flora. We argue that seed banking is applicable to more TM biodiversity than previously assumed and that a global effort to broaden ex situ conservation to include TM flora is needed. Making use of all the seed/gene banking tools available today, we call for a nationwide coordinated effort to establish a secure network of ex situ germplasm collections of Australian TMCF flora. Seed science research needed to inform and accelerate ex situ conservation of TMCF flora is also discussed.

Item ID: 80829
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2351-9894
Keywords: Climate change, Cloud forest, Ex situ conservation, Exceptional seeds, Seed banking, Tropical
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2023 00:12
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310303 Ecological physiology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310804 Plant developmental and reproductive biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180604 Rehabilitation or conservation of terrestrial environments @ 30%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 70%
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