Are seed banks in place to prevent loss of biodiversity?



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    Yes, seed banks are in place to protect species that are in danger of extinction and to protect genetic diversity of plants. There are a few tree species that have had their seeds collected recently due to attack from diseases and insects. One of these species is the Ash tree. Ash trees are in danger of being wiped out by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle that came to the U.S. from Asia via wood on boats. This species lays eggs in ash trees that are 1 inch in diameter or greater, and its larvae eat through the inside of the tree, destroying its ability to transport nutrients. The tree dies from the top down. Since it was found in Michigan in 2002, it has spread to 14 other states. Ash trees are common: for example, Ohio could lose up to 1/4 of its trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer. Government agencies and other groups have been collecting all species of ash trees since its invasion. 

    Another example is Chestnut blight, a fungus that has almost completely destroyed American Chestnut trees. Seeds of this tree were also collected to protect the species. 

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