The Role of networks connecting native seed stakeholders

Marcello De Vitis*, Holly Abbandonato, Costantino Bonomi, Simone Pedrini 

Connecting stakeholders and facilitating the transfer of knowledge is crucial to improve success in ecological restoration. Like the nodes of the ecological networks we aim to restore, those who work with native seeds are connected and dependent on each other for information and resources to address the challenges of seed conservation, research, production and use. The International Network for Seed-based Restoration (INSR) and the Native Seed Science, Technology and Conservation Initial Training Network (NASSTEC) are two examples of international networks dedicated to connecting people working on native seeds and facilitating the transfer of knowledge to improve results in ecosystem conservation and restoration. We present the recent activities and outcomes of these two networks. As an on-line network of 420 members in 40 countries, INSR publishes articles about restoration experiences, webinars, and a quarterly e-newsletter; promotes relevant events; posts useful materials and opportunities in seed-based restoration; and hosts a discussion forum about native seeds. As a face-to-face network, INSR organises symposia where stakeholders can learn from each other about the techniques and approaches to restoration challenges. In Europe, where the native seed industry is starting to address seed capacity and policy, NASSTEC conducted a survey to identify the native seed stakeholders, and collect information on the degree of collaboration and networking. Obtaining information about and from the community of users that we are trying to connect and for whom we want to produce useful tools for, is a critical step to effectively direct our resources.