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UK Native Seed Hub

Increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of native plants and seeds available for conservation and habitat restoration in the UK.

Willow sculpture by Tom Hare greets visitors at the entrance to the UK Native Seed Hub Production Site.

The Millennium Seed Bank safeguards practically the entire British flora in its vaults, with world-leading expertise in seed collecting, processing, storage and germination. The UK Native Seed Hub is mobilising these resources to support high quality native seed production and habitat restoration, responding to the challenge of the Lawton report ‘Making Space for Nature’ (2010) and addressing concerns outlined by the UK Government in ‘Biodiversity 2020: A Strategy for England’s Wildlife and Ecosystem Services’ (2012).

New multiple-origin wild collections are being added to those already in the bank, stored to international standards to maintain viability and genetic integrity. Seed production beds have been established at Wakehurst Place to multiply collections of priority species, and will provide seed for direct use in habitat restoration or as starter stocks for commercial seed companies to bulk up for use in landscape-scale conservation projects.

We will continue to work with conservation agencies to safeguard the UK’s most threatened plants. Conservation collections will be held in long term storage, but seeds and plants will also be raised to support the re-introduction of these species to suitable sites. This builds on successful support provided since 2006 for the re-introduction of starfruit (Damasonium alisma), starved wood sedge (Carex depauperata), triangular club rush (Schoenoplectus triqueter), fen violet (Viola persicifolia), spiked rampion (Phyteuma spicatum) and broad-leaved cudweed (Filago pyramidata).

The UK Native Seed Hub is developing a research and development program to support high quality native seed production and habitat restoration. Knowledge and information will be made available and training will be provided to landowners and agencies wishing to grow and use native plants. We are also keen to increase public understanding and enjoyment of our native flora, and have designed the seed production site to engage and inspire visitors to Wakehurst.

The project has started with lowland meadow and calcareous grassland species, with habitat restoration projects planned with a range of partners, including other members of the South Downs Way Ahead Nature Improvement Area. In time we hope to broaden the scope of the project to support restoration in other priority habitats listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the UK Government's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Project funders


UK
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Annex material


Length of project:
2011-2014

Conferences and workshops:

2011, Society for Ecological Restoration Congress, Merida, Mexico

2012, The 8th European Conference on Ecological Restoration, ƒåeské Budƒõjovice, Czech Republic

Project team

Seed Conservation

Kate Hardwick, Stephanie Miles, Robin Probert, Frances Stanley, Sian Wilson, Michael Way

Wakehurst

Andrew Jackson

Project Leader: