H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, emphasised the importance of preserving and conserving Arabia's natural biodiversity.
Speaking at the International Conservation Workshop for Arabia’s Biodiversity, organised by the Sharjah Research Academy (SRA), Sheikh Sultan said efforts were needed to conserve and propagate seeds whether in Sharjah or in other countries.
He said he started seed collecting and storing as a hobby at the time he was building his own house, and when he felt that some of the these seeds were at risk of extinction he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SRA and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom for collecting and conserving endangered seeds and supporting applied research for conservation of desert environments and natural resources.
Sheikh Sultan attended part of the discussions on international experiments on biodiversity and seed conservation.
H.H. said that he was personally following the progress of work at Sharjah Seed Bank and Herbarium, part of SRA. Botanists at the bank said that since 2012 they had collected 5,000 plant samples from across the Emirates of which around 3,000 were classified and indexed into 415 species. The bank aims to preserve the genetic origins of terrestrial plants through seed genes.
The four-day activity has been convened within the framework of the SRA-Kew's MoU. Botanists and environmentalists from Kew, Arab and foreign countries are participating in the event.
The academy houses a number of scientific and research institutes such as the Sharjah Institute of Desert Research Development, Sharjah Institute of Plants Research, Sharjah Institute of Marine Sciences, Sharjah Institute for Bird Science, and Sharjah Institute for Environmental Research.