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08/09/2017 11:22

Native plant seeds. An essential resource to ecological restoration in Europe

Monika Vettori Pressebüro und Kommunikationsabteilung
MUSE Museo delle Scienze

    A new study by Emma Ladouceur - a researcher at the MUSE Science Museum - indicating which native European grassland species can be used for industrial seed production, was recently published in "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.

    Emma Ladouceur, a researcher at the MUSE - Science Museum (Trento, Italy) for the EU project NASSTEC, has recently published an article in "Conservation Letters" (early view), which examines 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 PROJECT
    NASSTEC (the Native Seed Science, Technology & Conservation Initial Training Network) is a higher education training network developed as Marie Curie action, part of the European Union’s Research and Innovation Programme FP7. The NASSTEC project is coordinated by MUSE with the collaboration of 6 other partners in the UK, Spain and the Netherlands. NASSTEC is training 12 researchers in native seed science, conservation and use, to increase the impact of environmental mitigation and adaptation projects.
    The project is interconnecting the public and private sector through the establishment of a multidisciplinary European doctoral ‘school’ with the aim of integrating knowledge in plant ecology, genetics, molecular biology, taxonomy, ecology, conservation, seed biology, environmental science, agricultural botany, crop science, breeding and horticulture.

    The final conference of the project entitled “Seed Quality of Native Species: Ecology, Production & Policy“ will take place from September 25 to 29 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London.
    The conference is free to attend and features 10 international experts as keynote speakers. Conference sessions include global perspectives on seed quality for grassland restoration; field-based plant and seed ecology; seed characterization, germination & storage; policy, certification and quality assurance of seed production.

    Contact:

    PUBLISHED ARTICLE: Reference
    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. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12381
    Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12381
    Contact: Emma Ladouceur, emmala@gmail.com

    NASSTEC Project: www.nasstec.eu.
    Coordinated by: Costantino Bonomi, costantino.bonomi@muse.it


    more information:

    https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12381 Article


    Criteria of this press release:
    Journalists, Scientists and scholars, all interested persons
    Biology, Environment / ecology
    transregional, national
    Scientific Publications
    English


    Leontopodium alpinum is an indicator species of calcareous alpine grasslands, and is available from approximately 6% of seed producers across Europe.


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    Temperate grasslands of Europe are incredible hotspots of biodiversity and are key habitats of conservation concern. Many are in decline and require ecological restoration for habitat improvement.


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