Sowing the seeds of biodiversity in Salzburg
The ERDF-funded ‘Wild and Cultivated’ project aims to re-cultivate unused areas and road embankments in Salzburg by sowing regional seeds to foster species-rich, flowering meadows and greater biodiversity.
Since the 1960s, Austria has lost 89 % of the species found in its meadows because of industrial grassland management. Many flowering plants have disappeared because of intense cultivation. Meadows with high levels of biodiversity are home to around 60 different plant species, while those which are cut four times a year are likely to house only 15 species.
In a bid to bring these diverse plant species back to Salzburg’s meadows and mitigate their further decline, an ERDF-funded project is training local farmers in seed harvesting. Because meadow seed can be combed out gently using an electric brush, it hardly affects a farmer’s yield which means most local farmers are happy to cooperate with the project.
These regional seeds are then sown again within a maximum radius of 15 km and 300 metres at altitude. Because flowering plants differ genetically according to their area of origin, replanting them further afield could cause confusion for regional pollinators and ecosystems.
Thanks to these activities, this project aims to enrich the region’s diversity of plant species while, consequently, increasing the variety of insect species and bird species in the area, too.
Source article on https://derstandard.at 05/04/18
Author: Stefanie Ruep
Photo: © Creative Commons