UK Native Seed Hub (Legacy)

Mobilising Kew's seed collections, facilities and expertise "to enhance the resilience and coherence of the UK's ecological network by increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of native plants and seeds available for conservation and habitat restoration." This project has now concluded.

Fields in the UK in the summer

Since the mid-twentieth century, species-rich habitats in the UK have been destroyed or degraded at an alarming rate. In some cases, the losses have been catastrophic: over 97% of lowland grassland in England and Wales has been lost in the last 75 years, with profound consequences for biodiversity and the ability of ecosystems to sustain services essential for human well-being and prosperity. Surviving patches of habitat are often unsustainably small and fragmented, vulnerable to further degradation in the face of a changing climate and ever-growing demands on the natural environment. 

In the ground-breaking report, Making Space for Nature (2010), Sir John Lawton and colleagues set out an ambitious new strategy for conservation - to rebuild nature on a landscape scale, creating coherent and resilient ecological networks to expand and link existing habitats with buffer zones, wildlife corridors and areas of active restoration and habitat creation.  

In 2018, the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out a comprehensive and long-term approach to protecting and enhancing Britain’s landscapes and habitats, by using land more sustainably and by creating new habitats for wildlife to protect biodiversity and arrest the decline in native species. 

The UKNSH was Kew's response to these challenges, using our unique resources and expertise in support of a vision where 'biodiversity is enhanced and the diversity, functioning and resilience of ecosystems re-established' at a landscape-scale.  

  • Provide seed and plants for direct use in conservation projects, focussing on specific-origin, rare or highly specialised material which is not otherwise available to UK practitioners. 
  • Provide scientific advice and technical services to help conservation organisations and the native seed industry overcome constraints to improving seed quality and making a wider range of species and specific-origin material available. 
  • Build awareness and demand for high quality, native-origin plant materials, engaging with all those involved in the specification, procurement, regulation and use of native seed and plants. 
Project Leader

Chris Cockel 


Ted Chapman
Stephanie Miles
Jennifer Peach
Alice Livingstone

The UK Native Seed Hub has provided applied research, technical assistance and/or plant materials to more than 60 conservation projects involving more than 40 governmental, non-governmental and commercial organisations. 

  • Players of People’s Postcode Lottery 
  • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Esmee Fairbain foudation logo
  • The John Coates Charitable Trust 
  • Banister Charitable Trust 
  • John S Cohen Foundation 
  • Mackintosh Foundation 
  • Ennismore Foundation 

Chapman, T. (2019)

Seed Sourcing for Grassland Restoration in the High Weald.

A report for the High Weald AONB Unit.

Chapman, T., Miles, S., & Trivedi, C. (2018)

Capturing, protecting and restoring plant diversity in the UK: RBG Kew and the Millennium Seed Bank

Plant Diversity 40

Chapman, T., Pocock, S. & Davies, R. (2018)

Propagation Protocols for 10 Threatened Cornfield Annuals.

Report for Colour in the Margins, a Back from the Brink project.

Peach, J., Davies, R., Walmisley, J. & Chapman, T. (2017)

An assessment of seed viability, germination and vegetative propagation requirements for least water-lily (Nuphar pumila)

Natural England Report NECR244