History

The 1992 Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Conservation and the recent EU regulations promote the protection of biodiversity and the strong biodiversity decrease in Europe. To implement this aim, the involved institutions need the availability of native plant material. In the case of grasslands, this requirement is not sufficiently met in Central Europe, where seed of herbaceous native ecotypes is seldom available in large amounts.
Extensively managed semi-natural grasslands (the most important type of High Nature Value Farmland - HNVF) can be regarded as a seed source useful to establish new HNV Areas. Indeed, they are normally rich in species of native provenance and for this reason can be harvested to obtain valuable propagation material.
The typical high diversity of HNV grasslands in species and site conditions is their strong point but, at the same time, they pose the main challenge for an economically efficient harvesting. Moreover, the techniques normally used to create forage meadows or re-vegetate degraded areas which utilize seed of commercial varieties does not always adapt to ecological restoration done with propagation material from semi-natural grassland.