Project acronym: LIFE FOR SEEDS
Project reference: LIFE20 NAT/SI/000253
Year of financing: 2020
Priority area: Nature and biodiversity
Project title (SL): Ohranjanje prioritetnih travniških habitatnih tipov v Sloveniji z vzpostavitvijo semenske banke in obnovo in situ
Coordinating beneficiary: Društvo za opazovanje in proučevanje ptic (DOPPS)
Start date: 01.09.2021
End date: 31.12.2026
Layman's report: /

Project focuses on conservation of three priority Natura 2000 habitat types (hereafter HT), namely intermittent lakes (3180*), dry grasslands with orchids (6210(*)) and Nardus grasslands (6230*). Based on the latest national report under Art. 17 of the Habitats Directive for period 2013-2018, all three HT have an unfavourable conservation status: HT 3180* and 6230* in Alpine region – inadequate U1, HT 6210(*) in Alpine and Continental region – bad U2. Moreover, the same report estimates future prospects for HT 6210(*)as bad and those of HT 6230* and 3180* as inadequate.

Project has the following goals:

1. Establishment of a seed bank for HT 3180*, 6210(*) and 6230*

2. Grassland restoration

3. Preparation of measures for the national Strategic plan of common agricultural policy (SP CAP) after 2027

4. Web portal of HNV grasslands

5. Education and awareness raising

6. Dissemination of results and transfer of knowledge

Establishment of a seed bank and its duplicate

Seed bank of plant species characteristic of HT 3180*, 6210(*) and 6230* will be established in the Infrastructure Centre Jablje, which is part of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia. Its duplicate will be located in the basement of the working station in Ormož Basins Nature Reserve. Both seed banks will hold 12.000 accessions (samples) of at least 300 characteristic species. Thus the project will contribute to the implementation of the national Strategy for biodiversity conservation. The latter anticipates ex situ conservation, particularly for species that are highly endangered in their in situ habitats. Seeds of three target HT will be collected on 21 of 36 Natura 2000 sites designated for their conservation in Slovenia. This will include 14 of 22 designated sites for HT 6210(*), two of four sites for HT 3180* and six of seven sites for HT 6230*. On each site, seeds are expected to be collected from 20 different locations, thereby ensuring high genetic diversity of stored material.

Grassland restoration

Altogether 61,8 ha of three priority HT on five project sites will be restored by using green hay and native, local seed mixtures. In addition, 12,3 ha of five non-priority HT on four sites will be restored. Thus, 74,1 ha of grasslands will be restored and managed according to ecological needs of their characteristic species after the end of the project. Two prototypes of brush harvester will be constructed for the purpose of harvesting seed mixtures. After the end of the project, they will be available for other organizations working for nature conservation.

Preparation of agri-environmental or similar measures

Three measures will be prepared and integrated into the national agricultural policy after 2027. They include the production of green hay, seed mixtures and grassland restoration. Their content will be defined, as well as geographical layers for enrolment and payment calculations. The aim of these measures is to increase the economic potential of well-preserved extensively managed meadows, thus stimulating the interest for their conservation and possible increase. A web portal of HNV grasslands will be established to support the measures, serving as a meeting point for producers of native seed material and consumers. A feasibility study will be performed (whether and under what circumstances are farmers willing to enrol new measures), as well as a market analysis (who are the potential buyers/users of seed material)

Project applicant: DOPPS, Društvo za opazovanje in proučevanje ptic Slovenije

Partners: Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Public Institute Nature Park Goričko, Notranjska Regional Park, Public Institute Triglav National Park

Co-financers: Sigrid Rausing Trust, Ministry of Public Administration

Total budget: 5,351,723 €

EU contribution: 4,013,790 €

Co-financers contribution: 4,213,790 €