We are saving threatened plants from extinction

through seed banks

LIFE SeedForce

Saving plant diversity

SEEDFORCE – Using SEED banks to restore and reinFORCE the endangered native plants of Italy is a project funded by the European Commission through the LIFE programme which, through an integrated approach, aims to recover and reinforce the populations of native Italian plants in danger of extinction thanks to seed banks.

Endangered Plant species
Natura 2000 sites
Restored/Reinforced Plant populations

Italy hosts a high number of vascular plants of Union interest. Currently 104 plant species are included in the Habitat Directive (92/43/CEE), many of which are endemic, i.e. exclusive to our regions.

According to the latest Report on the state of implementation of the Directive, 58 of those, included in Annex II, are in unfavorable conditions and show a negative trend.

The efforts undertaken so far proved insufficient to grant to these taxa a favourable conservation status and this situation also caused the opening of a specific Infringement procedure against Italy (2015/2163) and the issue of complementary default notice.

The LIFE SEEDFORCE project was created to respond to this emergency. Its main objective is to improve the conservation status of 29 Annex II species of the EU Habitats Directive with a conservation status currently “unfavorable-inadequate” (19) or “unfavorable-bad” (10), according to the reporting of Art. 17.


An integrated ex situ/in situ approach will be undertaken to remove the threats that these 29 species face, aiming at improving the quality of both habitats and populations in 76 Natura 2000 sites (SCI/SACs) where these species still grow up or have recently died out.


Propagate and restock endangered species in Natura 2000 sites where threats to plant survival are removed and mitigated.


A future where habitat directive species thrive, do not go extinct and are known, respected and valued by the public at large.


107 small or declining populations of 27 species in 58 SCI/SACs


24 populations of 8 locally extint species in 17 SCI/SACs


4 locally extint species creating 8 new populations in 8 SCI/SACs

Plant species

The project focuses on 29 of the 58 Italian species reported by the Habitats Directive in an unfavorable-inadequate or unfavorable-bad conservation status. In particular, 6 are stenoendemic species (with narrow distribution limited to 3-5 sites occurring within few km), 11 are euriendemic (with a wider distribution of about 10 sites occurring within a 200 km radius) and 12 species are widely distributed with several sites occurring across thousands of km.



SEEDFORCE aims at improving the conservation status of priority species and habitats of Community interest in 76 Natura 2000 sites located in 10 Italian regions (Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo, Campania, Sardinia and Sicily) and in some cross-border areas of France, Slovenia and Malta.


The LIFE SEEDFORCE project is implemented with the contribution of the EU LIFE financial instrument.

The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Created in 1992, it has co-financed thousands of projects.

Natura 2000 is the main instrument of the European Union policy for the conservation of biodiversity. It is an ecological network spread throughout the Union, established pursuant to Directive 92/43 /CEE “Habitat” to ensure the long-term maintenance of natural habitats and flora and fauna species which are threatened or rare.