We learned at the Chicago Botanical Garden that they are currently part of a worldwide seed bank project to store seeds of endangered and other plants so that they may be able to regrow these plants in the future.
Seed banks are becoming more and more common as plants are continually losing habitat due to development or being encroached by invasive species or also due to the changing climate. Collecting and storing seeds of these endangered plants may be the only hope of saving them for the future. However, seed banks are not met without controversy.
In order to re-establish a certain plant in a region requires assisted migration; meaning the involvement of human intervention in the natural process of migration and succession. Many argue that to interject on a natural process is not our place or that resistance to the encroaching invasives is futile.
Like most anything, seed banks require money to operate and maintain themselves. It costs money to run the refridgerator that keeps seeds dormant and also the manpower neeeded to organize and maintain the seed bank.
While there are arguments against seed banks, their necessity is becoming more apparent. Already most of our native biomes are destroyed or deteriorating. If seed banks can mitigate this degradation then we will all be better off for it.