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Rural businesses and native flora receive boost from demand-led research project
Italian nature conservation scientists joined forces with commercial horticultural growers in a cooperation project to promote a new range of garden shrubs and other plants that help to increase the sustainability of native flora in Lombardy. A partnership of public and private sector bodies implemented the project. They included a research centre, a university, a foundation, a natural park and 10 plant nurseries. Project activities included collecting native species to test reproduction systems. Some 40.000 plants were tested and findings led to a horticultural production process that was certified with an ISO 22005 standard. A promotion campaign followed to raise awareness about the new ranges of ornamental plants. This included carrying out market research to determine demand for plants that customers found attractive.
A total of 20 different certification procedures were developed and validated for native plants.
Over 28 000 plant specimens were produced and branded as ‘Flora Autoctona®’ (certified origin).
More than 12 000 of these had the environmental certification UNI EN ISO 14020 concerning native plants.
The partners established a consortium to take the project actions further. This producer group included 60 members ranging from plant nurseries, consulting services, publishing bodies, greenhouse producers and exhibitors.