European Native Seed Conservation Network (ENSCONET)
(project completed 2009)
The European Native Seed Conservation Network project brought together 31 institutes from 18 countries. The project ran for five years from 1st November 2004 to 31st October 2009. Kew initiated and coordinated the ENSCONET project as part of the Millennium Seed Bank Project.
‘Europe is very fortunate having a well organised network for the ex situ conservation of seeds of plant species – ENSCONET’ - Prof Vernon Heywood (2009). The European Native Seed Conservation Network (ENSCONET) project for the first time brought together the key facilities for European native seeds. 31 institutes from 18 countries worked together. As a result of the project, much has changed in the ex situ conservation of native plants in Europe over the last five years. Today, European native seed banks speak with one voice, have defined high level, common working standards, exchange staff regularly, and most share their holding data in a freely accessible web-based database, to list only a few of the achievements.
The purposes of ENSCONET were:
- To improve quality, co-ordination and integration of European seed conservation practice, policy and research for native plant species
- To assist EU conservation policy and its obligations to the CBD and its Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)
- ENSCONET worked on four activity areas: collecting, curation, data management and dissemination. Through these, ENSCONET has pulled the European seed banking community together and given seed banking a voice in Europe. It has created a platform during meetings, workshops and exchange visits, for partners to share experiences, ideas and protocols. It built relationships between staff, scientists and horticulturalists, from seed banks across Europe, who in the past rarely met but whom share similar goals. It is these people and their enthusiasm that were vital to the success of the network.
- ENSCONET produced:
- ENSCOBASE – ‘Virtual Seed Bank’ – online access to European native seed collection data including germination tests
- Virtual Seed Bank – seed bank educational presentation and interactive seed bank in English, French or Spanish
- ENSCONET Seed Collection Manual – a guide to making quality, long-lasting seed collections from wild species.
- ENSCONET Curation Protocols and Recommendations – best practice seed curation practices
The momentum for conservation of native seed conservation in Europe continues in the ENSCONET Consortium.
Project duration: 2004-2009
Key papers published since 2006
- Eastwood, R.E. & Linington, S.H. (In press) The Millennium Seed Bank Project. Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali.
- Eastwood, R.E. & Müller, J.V. (In press) Chapter 35: Achievements of the European Native Seed Conservation Network – ENSCONET. Editors: Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, Brian V., Kell, S., Iriondo, J.M., Dulloo, E. & Turok, J. Agrobiodiversity Conservation: Securing the Diversity of Crop Wild Relatives and Landraces. CABI
- Eastwood, R.E. & Müller, J.V. (2010) European Native Seed Conservation Network - Working together towards GSPC target 8. BG Journal 7(2):11-13
- Godefroid, S., Rivière, S., Waldren, S., Boretos, N., Eastwood, R. & Vanderborght, T. (2011) To what extent are threatened European plant species conserved in seed banks? Biological Conservation 144(5):1494-1498
- Müller, J.V., Eastwood, R.E. & Linington, S.H. (In press) ENSCONET – A Milestone for European Seed Conservation. Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali.
Project Partners and Collaborators
University of Vienna
University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna
National Botanic Garden Belgium
Institute of Botany - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
National Agricultural Research Institute
Frederick University, Nature Conservation Unit
Helsinki Botanic Garden
Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle Paris
Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem, FU Berlin
Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Chania (Crete)
National and Kapodistrian University, Athens
Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Trinity College Dublin
Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali Trento
Università di Pavia / Centro Flora Autoctona della Lombardia
Universita di Pisa, Horto Botanico
Rete Italiana Banche del Germoplasma per le Pianti Spontanee Minacciate (RIBES)
Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg
Botanical Garden, Oslo
Botanical Garden Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw
Forest Gene Bank Kostrzyca
Jardim Botânico - Fundação da Universidade de Lisboa
Institute of Botany, Bratislava
IMGEMA-Jardín Botánico de Córdoba
Jardi Botanic de Soller (Mallorca)
Jardín Botánico Atlántico de Gijón
Jardin Botanico Gran Canaria
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Universitat de Valencia
Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques Genève
ENSCONET was an Integrated Activity, implemented as a Co-ordination Action funded by the European Community's Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
Conferences and workshops
- 1/2009: EuroGard V Conference Helsinki, Finland;
- 3/2010: Symposium “Towards the establishment of genetic reserve for crop wild relatives and landraces in Europe” University of Madeira, Portugal;
- 6/2010: 4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress, Dublin;
- 5/2010: UN CBD Secretariat Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice 14, Nairobi, Kenya.