Seed collecting in Mediterranean islands

A new initiative aims to ensure the survival of 900 plant species in six Mediterranean islands.

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21 Feb 2013

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Photo of Vendicari wetland in Sicily

Vendicari wetland, Sicily (Image: S. Sciandrello)

Islands in the Mediterranean are rich in endemic species, with many found only on individual islands. This flora is threatened by human development and climate change and requires urgent conservation measures to safeguard it.

An initiative, ‘Ensuring the survival of endangered plants in the Mediterranean’, led by seven conservation organisations from Crete, Corsica, Cyprus, Mallorca, Sardinia, Sicily and the UK (Kew), began in October 2011 to ensure the survival of 900 plant species in six Mediterranean islands though ex situ conservation measures.

Photo of Saponaria sicula
Saponaria sicula (Image: G. Pietro Giusso)

First year achievements

During the first year, seed has been collected from 434 taxa, mostly endemic, rare, threatened or protected. The seed has been stored in the local seed bank facilities of the six islands and backed-up in a second facility, such as Kew's Millennium Seed Bank.

A project workshop took place on 18-20 April 2013 in the Orto Botanico di Catania (Sicily). You can download the full workshop programme here and view the  workshop presentations on our web site. 

There is a dedicated website for the project and you can follow the activities of the project on our blog .

The project is being funded mainly by the MAVA Foundation with the support of other co-funders like Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional, Obra Social Sa Nostra (Balearic Islands), University of Cagliari (Sardinia) and Govern de les Illes Balears.

Item from Teresa Gil Gil (European Partnership Officer, Seed Conservation Department, RBG Kew)

Kew Scientist, issue 42

Samara, Issue 23

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2 comments on 'Seed collecting in Mediterranean islands'

Teresa Gil says

08/03/2013 4:17:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your comment. We are collecting seeds of endemic plants in habitats that are grazed by mammals and that are habitat of several birds species.

Tim Upham says

07/03/2013 5:05:55 AM | Report abuse

Are these endemic plants important sources of food for endemic passerines, and mouflon. Cyprus is famous for its endangered endemic mouflon?

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