“Priceless” Pavlovsk seed bank on brink of destruction

The Pavlovsk agricultural station near St. Petersburg is fighting for its life in Russian courts, defending itself against developers who want to replace it with homes. The Guardian notes the convoluted logic required to strip away the value of something so unique.

In what appears Kafkaesque logic, the property developers argue that because the station contains a “priceless collection”, no monetary value can be assigned to it and so it is worthless. In another nod to Kafka, the government’s federal fund of residential real estate development has argued that the collection was never registered and thus does not officially exist.

“It is a bitter irony that the single most deliberately destructive act against crop diversity could be about to happen in the country that invented the modern seed bank,” said Cary Fowler, of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. “Russia taught the world about the importance of crop collections for the future of agriculture. A decision to destroy Pavlovsk would forever tarnish a cause that generations of Russian plant scientists have lived and, quite literally, died, to protect.”

The station was established in 1926 by Nikolai Vavilov, the man credited with creating the idea of seed banks as repositories of plant diversity that could be used to breed new varieties in response to threats to food production.

via @ptorrone at braincraft.com

 

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