Native Plant Seeds. An essential resource to ecological restoration in Europe

A research study led by MUSE, indicating which native European grassland species can be used for industrial seed production, was recently published in the scientific journal Conservation letters.

Ecological restoration actions – aiming at the recovery of a damaged ecosystem – are increasingly getting global attention and the seed farming of native plant species, which are necessary for these conservation projects, offers interesting possibilities for economic development.
However, the potential of native seed farming may be limited by inadequate knowledge transfer between academic research and the industry and the lack of effective policies that regulate native seed production and use. In order to fully develop the potential of this promising industrial field, a MUSE research study carried out within the NASSTEC project suggests some actions.

The study was led by Emma Ladouceur, a researcher at MUSE - Science Museum and supervised by Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, a researcher at the iDiv research centre. Together with their colleagues, they have examined grasslands of the main European biogeographical regions, identifying over 1000 important plant species for ecological restoration actions and finding out that only 32% can be purchased as seed. To be able to reinstate functioning ecosystems seed supply has to be improved.
The new study proposes to substantially expand research and development on native seed quality and production, to increase open-source knowledge transfer between public, private and academic sectors and to create supportive policies intended to stimulate demand for biodiverse seed in Europe.

This study will be presented along with the results of 11 other researchers of the NASSTEC network at the final conference scheduled for late September in London.

NASSTEC (the Native Seed Science, Technology & Conservation Initial Training Network) is a higher education training network. It is training 12 researchers in native seed science, conservation and use, to increase the impact of environmental mitigation and adaptation projects.

NASSTEC Project:
PUBLISHED ARTICLE: Ladouceur, E., Jiménez-Alfaro, B., Marin, M., De Vitis, M., Iannetta, P.P.M., Bonomi, C. & Pritchard, H.W. Native seed supply and the restoration species pool. Conservation Letters.