Japan to preserve seeds of 1,690 endangered plant species

Japan's Environment Ministry this week announced a plan to try to prevent hundreds of different plant species from going extinct.

All told, 1,690 plant species have been designated by the Ministry as "endangered." Seeds from those plants will now be collected, dried, frozen and stored as a last-gap measure to keep the species alive.

Once collected, the seeds will be stored in a freezer at Tokyo's Shinjuku Gyoen park.

Obviously, this isn't the first seed bank of its type. Others include the Svalbard International Seed Vault in Norway and the Millennium Seed Bank Project in the UK. But this is a rare effort by a country's government to protect its natural biodiversity.

Further reading: Japan's National Biodiversity Strategy