Restoring environments through seed banks and plant nurseries

28th June 2024, Friday | 13.00-14.30 BST/ 14.00 – 15.30 CEST

Our planet is losing domesticated and wild plant diversity at an unprecedented rate. The loss of crop diversity is particularly alarming: out of approximately 20,000 edible plants, only 9 accounts for two-thirds of all global crop production.

Indigenous and local communities the world over have been saving the seeds of the plants they have been in a relationship with for millennia, creating a continuous thread of connection and evolution to their plant ancestors. These communities are currently at the leading edge of seed protection and maintenance, to ensure justice, food sovereignty, adaptability and biodiversity conservation through these turbulent times and into the future.

In this session, we will hear from grassroots practitioners working with their communities to maintain the incredible diversity of their plant kin by saving their seeds, growing plants and restoring their environments. We will hear about the challenges they face, the lessons they are learning and how these initiatives are contributing to conservation and community livelihoods.



Rachid Ait Babahmad

Born and raised in the High Atlas, Rachid followed the extensive degradation of biodiversity in the High Atlas from a young age, which pushed him to build his career around conserving biodiversity and traditional practices in the High Atlas. He holds a PhD in ecology and environment from Cadi Ayyad University. Rachid did his undergraduate in Growth and Plant Protection and his masters in Ecological Engineering and Methodologies of Analysis and Management of Biodiversity from Cadi Ayyad University, Semlalia Faculty of Sciences, Marrakech, in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

Rachid’s dream came true when he co-founded the Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association (MBLA) in 2014, which aims to conserve High Atlas Cultural Landscapes. As MBLA executive director, he manages project activities, collects data relating to biodiversity, implements biodiversity conservation actions (such as community nurseries, seed banks and species reintroduction), and builds the capacities of local communities in field research. He oversees the MBLA team to ensure the successful implementation of its projects.

Beatriz Moraes Murer

Bia is a Brazilian biologist passionate about life and works as a restoration technician for an initiative called Redário. This initiative engages in the entire restoration chain, from supporting community-based groups that collect native seeds to planting these seeds, which will eventually provide more collection opportunities and enable new plantings. Bia’s professional journey has combined an academic path with activism in the third sector. She has been working at the Instituto Socioambiental for 7 years and holds a master’s degree in ecology from the University of São Paulo. In her current role, she directly supports the development of groups that produce native seeds in Brazil and seed networks. Additionally, she manages projects and engages politically in Brazilian regulations and policies that support both seed production and ecological restoration.

Dunja Zbiljski

Dunja is formally educated as an engineer of urban forestry, nature conservation, and environmental protection in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2020 she finished her permaculture designer course and has explored the world of sustainable food growing ever since. She works in ZMAG (Green Network of Activist Groups), managing the Community Seed Bank and Food Program. Her work involves plant growing, seed collection, storage, and distribution and educating the community on the importance of seed diversity and sustainable agriculture. She worked on different farms collecting firsthand experience and skills for food growing in bio-intensive no-till systems.

Zoom video recording is now available on our YouTube channel.

Conservation’s Leading Edges

This session is part of the In Conversation Series: Conservation’s Leading Edges.















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