Myanmar’s rich bio-diversity is under threat. This is especially true to the over 800 endemic endangered orchid species. These beautiful flowering plants are disappearing fast due to illegal logging, illegal harvests for export to China for use in traditional Chinese medicine and several other reasons.
During the visit by their Royal Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway in 2014, Norway offered Myanmar support in collecting and storing seeds in the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, from 400 endemic endangered Myanmar orchids.
The project started in 2015 in cooperation between the Forestry Department and Worldview International Foundation. An important component of the project was the establishment of a well-equipped and modern laboratory and store room for orchid seeds at the Forestry Department’s Research Institute in Yezin, Nay Pyi Taw. The collected seeds will be taken care of by the Research Institute before seeds from endemic endangered orchid plants are brought to the Global Seed Vault for permanent storage. Seeds from 440 endemic endangered orchids have been collected and sent to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
The project has conducted expeditions to all provinces in Myanmar and collected both seeds and mother plants for later pollination and seed collection.
The project is supported by The Royal Norwegian Embassy Myanmar and The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Orchid propagation laboratory
Since 2013, WIF has produced more than 800,000 orchids plants from endangered endemic species at its laboratory in Yangon.
Most of these plants have been placed in the wild to prevent extinction, while others have been available to orchid lovers in order to make the project sustainable.
Saving endangered endemic orchids
Seeds to be stored at Svalbard Global Seed Vault Norway