Welcome to the new web by ČSOP. Let's help our meadows!

Meadow and Grassland Restoration

Regional seed mixtures as an effective tool for the conservation of grassland habitat diversity

About the Project

Regional meadow seed mixtures have been used in the Czech Republic for quite a long time in some places, but only locally. But how can meadow restoration in this way be extended to as many areas as possible? Will the technologies we have experience with in some places work well elsewhere? What about trying out some new ones? These are the questions that the Czech Union for Nature Conservation and its partners are trying to answer in a project called "Regional seed mixtures as an effective tool for protecting the diversity of grassland habitats".

This project has several objectives. Firstly, to find as many meadows with high biodiversity as possible across the country that can serve as a source of seeds, map them all and enter them into a database. Secondly: to test different seed collection technologies in different places and see how well they work. And thirdly: to disseminate all the knowledge and experience gathered to as many people as possible.

The project runs from April 2022 to April 2024 and is supported by Norway through the Norway Grants with 21,709,935.98 CZK (out of a total of 24,122,151.10 CZK). However, we will continue the project activities even after the end of the project.

Project description

Database of the source meadows

We are looking for suitable source areas for seed collection throughout the Czech Republic - that is, species-rich meadows and steppes. Experts - botanists - then go to these sites to assess whether the meadow is really suitable for seed collection, according to a standardised methodology. If it is, they collect data on the vegetation, make an inventory of the species on the site and set out experimental plots for seed collection. All this is entered into two databases - one for experts and one for those interested in restoring their own meadows.

Do you know of a nice meadow that could be involved in the project? Contact us at info@csop.cz.

Brush harvesting and sowing

Extensive experimental brush harvesting of seeds with special machines is being carried out at 8 sites across the Czech Republic. At each of these sites, three times a season (July, August, September), a handheld and hand-guided brush harvesters (and a tractor-operated one at the larger sites) are tested on designated trial plots. Another method of seed collection is cutting green hay. The seeds thus collected are then used for two purposes. Some of them are taken away for analysis to see exactly which species can be collected when and by what method. The other part of the seeds is sown in demonstration plots - that is, fields which are in turn divided into equal experimental squares. Each square is sown with seeds collected at a different time, using a different method. Here we then monitor which species take hold and grow well - all information is again collected in a database. The demonstration plots are always close to the experimental source sites so that regionality is maintained.

Experimental brush harvesting also takes place on a smaller scale at the database sites (see above). Here, however, only one collection per season takes place. This will give us a good comparison of how well the brush harvesters work and what they collect over the widest possible sample of different sites.

Seeds not used for the project can be donated to the users of the land where it was brushed, or to other interested people in the area. Are you interested in seeds? Contact us at info@csop.cz.

Workshops, public information

The project will run three seminars for interested parties - the first of these will take place in spring 2023. Three workshops are also planned: one in Norway with our partner Høgskulen på Vestlandet and two in the Czech Republic.

You can find all further findings from the project here on the website and look forward to summary videos that will be created during next year.

Project partners

More information about Norway grants