In a world faced with climate changes and disease, the survival of some of our favorite plants used in alcohol production are at risk. But thanks to the work of the plant conservationists at the UK National Tree Seed Project, we won’t have to worry about the future of Gin.
The UK National Tree Seed Project announced that it has collected and preserved the seeds of juniper plants from across the UK. These seeds will be stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, the world’s largest global plant life preservation complex, located in Wakehurst, Sussex.
The Millennium Seed Bank aims to protect plants to prevent their extinction when their native habitats are at risk. In the case of juniper, a deadly fungus, called phytophthora austrocedri, has been damaging the juniper plants in various parts of Scotland.
Juniper is one of the main ingredients of gin, which has been growing in popularity over the last decade. While gins like New Wave gins put less emphasis on juniper and more on other botanical flavors, the spirit must contain juniper in order to be considered a gin.
Although juniper is not currently under threat of extinction, Project Officer, Simon Kallow, called the project’s measure to preserve juniper seeds as “a type of insurance policy”, which would also enable people to conduct research and conservation work related to juniper.
If kept under the proper conditions, seeds can be kept alive for hundreds of years. Since it began in 2013, the project has preserved 5.8 million seeds from 6,500 trees in the UK. The group plans to continue collecting and preserving the seeds until 2018.
So gin lovers, raise a glass knowing your favorite spirit can be enjoyed for years to come thanks to the UK National Tree Seed Project.