In the face of the current massive loss of biodiversity and dwindling resources such as water, both accelerated by climate change, native seeds offer an opportunity to restore resilient ecosystems, address species loss, replenish our soils, and facilitate the reproduction of pollinators. Creating strong ecosystems that are more similar to those around them allows them to be more efficient in the use of resources, offering a greatly increased potential for survival.
In this area of work, Fundación Global Nature (FGN) participates in the Interreg Sudoe Fleurs locales project, which is now being concluded. Combining efforts with experts from France and Portugal, its goal is to emphasise the value of using native seeds as a potential resource for recovering degraded spaces and restoring their ecosystemic benefits. After more than two years of work, the initial results in Spain highlight the existence of rigid and complex regulations that perpetuate a value chain that is unable to meet the needs of the market. These regulations ‘prevent the straightforward and large-scale use of native seeds by the end consumer’.
“Native seeds are essential when the restoration project is being carried out in an area of high natural value, such as a protected natural area and the like, because the priority is to guarantee the genetic expression of the pre-existing plant community,” explains FGN project coordinator and Fleurs Locales technician Jordi Domingo. He affirms that the aim of “creating green businesses” based on these seeds and mobilising all the actors involved remain part of the solution.
He adds: “even when we are in spaces which are not so sensitive, such as in an urban environment or on industrial land, or where reclamation is not viable due to high cost, for example in agricultural areas, even though this work might not be essential, it is still advisable.” Domingo emphasises the importance of fostering a robust natural environment, with a greater capacity for autonomy and replication, having an enhanced potential to offer the ensuing ecosystemic benefits arising from this restoration process and which represent a real contribution.
“The truth is that restoration projects require large quantities of native seeds, specific seeds, but the supply chain is not offering these possibilities,” explains Laura García, coordinator of Fleurs Locales and a technician at Fundación Global Nature, which has also led a study on obtaining these seeds through the baling of natural grasses.
“It is a necessary challenge, because we have seen that there are many ways to promote the use of these seeds, which will also help to recover specific species that are being lost,” García adds. She confirms that the work with these seeds will continue thanks to various entities beyond FGN, because it has become clear that native seeds are an opportunity in the face of the challenges of the climate crisis: the loss of biodiversity, the scarcity of resources and climate change.