Establishment of the Pannon Seed Bank for the long-term ex-situ conservation of Hungarian vascular wild plants (2010-2014)

Type: LIFE+

Registration number: LIFE+ 08 NAT/ H/000288

Duration: 2010-2014

Partner institutions: Leader institute: Central Agriculture Office Research Centre for Agrobotany (Tápiószele). Other institutes: Ministry of Environment and Water, Aggtelek National Park.

Project leader: Gabriella Kutta (project manager)

Staff: Sándor Barabás, Sándor Bartha, János Bölöni, András Horváth, Géza Kósa, Tamás Rédei

Aims:
The main goal is the long-term seed preservation of the wild vascular flora of the Pannonian biogeographical region in order to assist and complement in situ species conservation activities. The project aims to achieve this goal through expanding the current functions of the world’s 13th largest agricultural gene bank, the Research Centre for Agrobotany (Tápiószele). The establishment of a joint seed bank for the agricultural and wild flora would be a unique and demonstrative example worldwide in line with the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as the genetic diversity of the Pannonian biogeographical region’s entire flora, including the wild flora as well as crop and vegetable plants serving human nutrition are aimed to be conserved at one place.
The collection will be carried out by botanical experts and the national park directorates. By the end of the project, approximately 50 percent – at least 800 species – of the species of the wild native flora will be collected if no unexpected natural hazard occurs that may influence the seed bearing capacity of vascular plants.
Seed samples will be safeguarded in the Base and Active storage facilities of the Pannon Seed Bank established at the Research Centre for Agrobotany (Tápiószele). In order to achieve full safety, a duplicate store of the Base collection will be established inside a man-made mine hole inside the Esztramos mountain of the Aggtelek National Park Directorate. The duplicate store of the Active seed collection will be established at the Institute of Ecology and Botany.
In order to achieve the widest possible publicity of the project the permanent exhibition with guided tours at the Institute of Ecology and Botany will mainly focus on informing students, botany experts and the general public.
Moreover, the project will also focus on the importance of biodiversity. In order to disseminate project information within Europe, an international conference will be organized for relevant institutions, experts and projects, with special attention to those having part of the Pannonian biogeographical region.

Results:
By the end of the project approximately 50 percent – at least 800 species – of the native flora will be collected and stored. A strategy will be developed for seed collection of wild vascular plants, assessing existing seed collection and ex situ storing methodology for the vascular wild flora of the Pannonian iogeographical region. Selected seed bank samples will be used for model reintroduction. A comprehensive project management and monitoring system will be established to manage and monitor the implementation of the project.

Related publications:

Török, K., Kutta, G., Kósa, G. (2010): Conserving the genetic basis of evolution in a seed bank. Evolution and Biodiversity. Electronic conference. march 2010