Between December 2022 and middle of March 2023 DOPPS’ team visited 164 farms that manage species-rich grasslands on 20 Natura 2000 sites. We were always accompanied by the employees of the local Institutes of Agriculture and Forestry. They strongly facilitated the visits because they are familiar with both farmers and their farms.

We presented LIFE FOR SEEDS project to farmers, especially the importance of establishing a seed bank for our target habitat types (dry orchid meadows, Nardetum meadows, turloughs). With most of them (134) we also conducted interviews regarding their management of those meadows, as well as their socio-economic value. We visited some farmers in rather peculiar places, e.g. in ski centre Cerkno, where they work as cableway operators during the winter. With others, interviews were performed in a stable during their care for livestock.

Contracts and consents were signed for 331 meadows, where seed gathering will begin this summer. We expect the final number to reach around 380 meadows, as several visits are still planned in the following week or two. Thus, the foreseen number of meadows from the project application (360) will most likely be exceeded.

We sincerely thank all employees of the local Institutes of Agriculture and Forestry that helped us organize and carry out the visits – we are convinced that work would not be running so smoothly without them!