Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


ENSCONET Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 506109
Gefördert unter: FP6-INFRASTRUCTURES
Land: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - ENSCONET (European Native Seed Conservation Network)

The objective of the project was to improve quality, coordination and integration of European seed conservation practice, policy and research for native plant species and to assist EU conservation policy and its obligations to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

The main achievements of the project were the following:
- Spirit of collaboration formed between European native species seed banks.
- Single voice created for native species seed banking in Europe.
- Provision of a platform for discussion and the exchange of experience.
- Isolated activities and institutions brought together to maximise impact and reduce duplication of effort.
- Lead partner in European Plant Conservation Strategy (ESPC).
- Analysis of native seed bank holdings and facilities across Europe carried out.
- Two native seed banking manuals (Collecting and Curation) developed and published on-line.
- Online seed banking educational tool, the Virtual Tour developed.
- Developed and maintained the project website.

The objectives of the first activity group (Management) were the following:
- Guide the direction of the Network.
- Coordinate and monitor activities.
- Prepare management and annual meetings.
- Integrate additional project participants.
- Steer the long-term future of the Network.

The major achievements of this activity group were the following:
- 5 Annual Meetings and 10 Management Meetings held.
- 5 additional full and 7 associate members incorporated into the project.
- Project completed on time and on budget.
- Databases of European seed conservation Projects, Research Groups and Research Papers and Publications.
- External links to conservation and botanic garden agencies strengthened.

The second activity group (Collecting) had two main objectives:
- Preparation of a detailed, coordinated and prioritised seed collection programme for the European spermatophyte flora which aimed to contribute to the time bound targets identified in the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Planta Europa/Council of Europe European Strategy for Plant Conservation Strategy, together with the objectives of the EU Sixth Biodiversity Action Plan.
- Promotion of a common, high standard of seed collecting which maximises the genetic diversity (effectiveness) and longevity of the collected seed.

The major achievements of this activity group were the following:
- First united list of European native species seed bank holdings produced.
- Future Collecting Plans prepared at the member, national, bioregional and European levels using a novel approach.
- European Collecting Plan Report documenting the novel method utilised by ENSCONET compiled.
- ENSCONET Collecting Manual for wild species prepared in 9 languages and made freely available on-line.

The ENSCONET Collecting Manual for wild species documented best practice protocols for collecting seed from Europe's native plant species. The manual was developed through targeted workshops and extensive testing in the field.

Topics covered included:
- Planning seed collecting expeditions.
- Sampling.
- Seed collecting techniques.
- Plant identification and documentation.
- Care of collections after harvest.

ENSCONET developed Collecting Plans at the member, national, bioregional and European level using an innovative approach which focused on bio-geographic plant distributions.

The advantages of planning collaboratively at the bioregional instead of the local or national level include:
- Avoidance of duplication (making collections with no added value).
- Increased communication between partners and the means to build and strengthen working relationships.
- Ease of adding or amending data following large initial input.
- Improved geographic and genetic representation of sampled accessions.

The objectives of the third activity group (Curation) were the following:
- Inventory the seed conservation facilities and resources available within each of the biogeographic regions of Europe.
- Identify the current best curation practices within ENSCONET and cascade to all participants.
- Assess the capacity of available resources and skills to meet the needs of the seed conservation programme identified in the collecting work.
- Identify the necessary research to further enhance the value of seed banking in the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of the native European spermatophyte flora.

The main achievements of this activity group included the following:
- List of ex situ native species collections held in major European seed banks compiled.
- European seed conservation facilities documented.
- Resources and skill capacities assessed in relation to collecting plans.
- ENSCONET Curation Protocols and Recommendations published on-line in nine languages.
- Five diverse funding applications submitted.
- All partners participated in exchange visits.
- Seed bank advice given to numerous European seed banks.
- 61 % of critically endangered species held in duplicate storage.

The objectives of the fourth activity group (Data Management) are listed below:
- Use common data standards to bring about the integration of the collection data held by partners in ENSCONET.
- Seek the further integration of these data into other parallel EU initiatives such as EPGRIS.
- Deliver easier access to the collections by researchers across Europe and facilitate the improved use within Europe of electronic data relevant to seed conservation e.g. Geographical Information Systems.

The main achievements of this activity group included the following:
- Database schema (including standards) developed for shared seed bank data.
- Protocol for recording germination data agreed.
- ENSCOBASE - European database on wild plant species (41 928 accessions) freely accessible on-line.
- ENSCOTOOL - data management system developed.
- Demonstrate through analysis that the database shows that ENSCONET members hold 44 % of Habitats Directive Species and 27 % of BGCI threatened European plants list.

ENSCOBASE is the onine database of the ENSCONET project. Seed availability is shown along with contact details for all holding seed banks.

ENSCOTOOL, a Virtual Seed Bank Data Manager, was developed through the ENSCONET project to allow partners to manage their content in ENSCOBASE.

The fifth activity group (Dissemination) included the following objectives:
- To establish a continuous open communication route, to exchange specialised information between all ENSCONET participants.
- To provide all seed conservation groups with efficient tools to improve working methodologies. In particular to disseminate standard and recommended protocols on seed conservation.
- To provide information on ENSCONET and its products to the wider scientific community, including users of seed banks, decision makers and policy makers.
- To give plentiful information about ENSCONET and its participants to the general public.

The major achievements of this activity group were the following:
- Five issues of the annual news bulletin ENSCONEWS produced and widely distributed in 20 countries.
- Website developed and maintained in English, French and Spanish.
- E-forum set up and utilised for general communication and e-meetings.
- Educational tool, the Virtual Tour, developed in nine languages.
- Promotional leaflets and bookmarks produced and distributed.
- Project results and activities disseminated in over 90 conference presentations.
- Significant news coverage: 169 press articles (of which 63 in specialist press), 11 radio features and 2 television features.

ENSCONET for the first time unified all key facilities for European native seeds. As a result 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 EU Member States and the European Commission identified the need to continue the support for native seed banks and seed conservation on a European scale in order not to lose the significant dialogue and momentum gained and to expand further and open up activities.

ENSCONET members aimed to:
- Keep the project website open and continue management of the database.
- Maintain the dialogue, momentum and collaborative spirit generated through ENSCONET.
- Maintain and extend the seed bank network in Europe.
- Extend activities and open them to further banks in other EU Member States, and elsewhere in and outside Europe.
- Implement agreed standards in partner seed banks and encourage banks outside the network to use them.
- Secure external funding for future seed conservation activities.

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