A rhododendron garden, swamp plants and a tiger forest. Baekdudaegan National Arboretum in South Korea has 31 different thematic gardens and three Siberian tigers in their facilities situated along the mountain range called Baekdudaegan. The state-owned organization works with securing the diversity of wild plants and consist of gardens and arboretums, a research facility, a visitor’s centre and a gene bank.
“When it comes to the gene bank and Seed Vault operations, NordGen has much more experience. Not the least considering that you’ve had the role as operational manager for Svalbard Global Seed Vault for more than ten years. That’s why we have come here, to sign a memorandum of understanding with NordGen”, says Dr. Kim Yong Ha, Director General of the Baekdudaegan National Arboretum.
Apart from the memorandum of understanding, Dr. Kim Yong Ha also signed a depositor’s agreement which is needed for depositing seeds in Svalbard Global Seed Vault. NordGen, who runs the Seed Vault in collaboration with the Norwegian State and the international organization Crop Trust, handles this kind of administration on behalf of Norway.
“We are very grateful for this initiative from Baekdudaegan National Arboretum. It shows the high international respect NordGen holds. The task of preserving a diversity of crop genetic resources is not a one-man-show. It’s conducted on a global level. That’s why these kinds of contacts are invaluable” says Lise Lykke Steffensen, Executive Manager of NordGen.
Bekdudaegan National Arboretum has long experience of working with medical plants and crop wild relatives and how to handle their seeds. This is an area NordGen is very interested in. Hopefully we can develop a fruitful cooperation with the institution in South Korea.