Native seed trade of herbaceous species for restoration: a European policy perspective with global implications
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© 2017 The Authors. Restoration Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Ecological Restoration.
With the need to meet ambitious restoration targets, an improved native seed sector for the production of herbaceous species with a practical and supportive policy framework is recognized. We evaluated the current “ready-made” policy frameworks in Europe regarding the native seed supply of herbaceous species and found them to be, generally, unsatisfactory for both producers and users. Initially, such policies were designed for fodder seed and relate to distinctness, uniformity, and stability, traits that do not reflect the genetic heterogeneity of native species required for ecological restoration. Until recently, more suitable certification standards were designed to multiply fodder seed for preservation of the natural environment; however, due to the disparateness of the seed market in Europe, this policy is rarely practical and fails to encompass all herbaceous native species often resulting in unregulated seed sales. We recommend a new or adapted native seed policy constructed through a participatory or bottom-up approach and supported through the formation of widely based trade associations. Such a policy could stimulate the native seed trade with concomitant impacts on the speed of improving ecosystem services.
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