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Seed collector of wild plants: biodiversity has an inestimable value from an ecological, economic and cultural point of view. In recent decades we have been witnessing a continuous loss of global diversity, the best way to limit damage is to protect the species and the natural habitat in which they thrive. Another way to safeguard biodiversity consists in the conservation of the species outside the natural habitat; aspontaneous plant seed collectorit has the task of “collecting”, organizing and delivering lots of seeds to one germplasm bank, giving priority to those seeds belonging to species at risk of extinction.
The seeds, once stored, can be used for research, experimentation,reintroductionisstrengthening of rapidly declining populations. THEseeds collectedthey could also be used to “re-naturalise” a degraded habitat.
A spontaneous plant seed collectormust be able to face various problems but above all must have an excellent knowledge of the spontaneous species that it will "collect": the spontaneous species show a great genetic and physiological heterogeneity, the real genetic variability of the collected sample could be different from that hypothesized .
Seed collector of wild plants, permissions
In Italy, almost all regions and autonomous provinces have specific rules for the protection of protected flora to which specific reference should be made: all collections must be carried out only if in possession of the necessary authorizations.
Even enthusiasts, before taking anything in nature should appeal to common sense: by collecting seeds and planting them elsewhere, you can easily pollute the genotype of other populations of the same species, causing their weakening and possible risks to the very survival of the plant.
For this reason it is important to start a business ofspontaneous plant seed collectoronly upon request for authorization. At national level, the authorization is issued byMinistry of the Environment and Land and Sea Protection which refers to the Italian Botanical Society. At the local level, as stated, it will be necessary to refer to regional administrations or autonomous provinces. For collection within the national parks, special authorization must be obtained from the latter. Obtaining collection permits can take a long time, so it is recommended that you submit your request well in advance.
In addition to the permissions, a good onespontaneous plant seed collectorit should carry out detailed research on the species to be collected. To get as much information as possible, consult local and regional floras, checklists, databases and monographs. In Italy it is possible to refer tochecklist by Conti et al,but also to herbaria, botanical gardens, naturalistic museums and universities.
All useful information for those about to carry out an activity ofspontaneous plant seed collector, can be found in the "ENSCONET manual for the collection of seeds of wild plants". The manual includes collection techniques, prophylaxis to request authorizations, suggestions and information of all kinds.
ENSCONET manual for the collection of seeds of spontaneous plants
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In the photo above: Asclepias syriaca
Middle photo: Gary Kauffman, US Forest Service.