sign up (free!)
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is established in the permafrost in the mountains of Svalbard, is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections around the globe. Many of these collections are in developing countries. If seeds are lost, e.g. as a result of natural disasters, war or simply a lack of resources, the seed collections may be reestablished using seeds from Svalbard.
A golden rain tree, above, is hung with shining lanterns come autumn. The papery pods break open as they dry, scattering the seeds within. At left, plants deploy an infinite variety of strategies and shapes to spread their seeds. They float, fly, fall, and finesse dispersal with fruit — or are built to cling.