Expected results and impacts
SEEDFORCE will significantly improve the conservation status of 29 species of Union interest with Unfavourable conservation status, carrying out applied conservation actions in 76 SCI/SACs centred on the 3 Italian biogeographical regions (Alpine, Mediterranean and Continental) and bordering regions in France, Slovenia and Malta.
The 29 target taxa account for 33% of Italian Annex II species and 48% of those with Unfavourable conservation status.
17 of these 29 species are endemic to Italy, being 30% of the endemics listed in Annex II and 43% of those with Unfavourable status; 10 of these 29 species are priority species, being 27% of the priority species included in Annex II and 33% of those with Unfavourable conservation status.
SEEDFORCE will produce at least 50,000 first-generation individuals. The reproduction mix will be developed on the basis of the assessment of the population genetic diversity and climatic envelope, using material randomly sampled from native donor populations. It will not be subject to artificial selection, biasing its composition, and seed dormancy will be removed to avoid selecting non-dormant genotypes that might be less adapted to the natural environment.
– will reinforce 107 small or declining populations of 27 species in 58 SCI/SACs, with an average increase of ca. 800%.
– will reintroduce 8 locally extinct species creating 24 new populations in 17 SACs
– will introduce 4 locally extinct species creating 8 new populations in 8 SACs.
SEEDFORCE will remove habitat-related threats such as trampling and overgrazing by fencing in at least 19 SACs (11 species), eradicating alien invasive species in at least 10 SACs (7 species) and mitigating re-vegetation in at least 35 SACs (15 species).
The SEEDFORCE partnership as a whole will collect and store for long-term conservation a total of at least 100 accessions for a total of 1,000,000 seeds and spores of 29 species of Union interest.
The Project will reach out to the Italian society and raise its awareness on plant conservation appealing to the unique value of endemic plants as flagship species, showcased in dedicated flower beds and put in the horticultural trade. It will engage at least 100,000 people and 10,000 students in education.
SEEDFORCE will contact at least 1,000 national and European stakeholders and ensure a wide transferability of the project approaches and results with 3 feasibility studies of similar activities in 3 other biodiversity-rich EU nations.