Seed-coat challenge solution a forestry game-changer
A Scottish Government Civ Tech Challenge launched by Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has helped create an award winning business that could benefit forestry around the world.
The FLS challenge – to find a way of improving the chances of tree seed surviving and germinating to produce the seedlings that will sustain the ongoing success of Scotland’s £1bn forestry sector – met with a huge response from technical innovators.
One proposed solution, put forward by SilviBio, a new-start set up as a direct result of the Challenge, is a seed coating ‘survival capsule’ for conifers (the most economically important forestry species). The coating provides a water source that will improve the survival of tree seedlings by 40 per cent in drought conditions.
FLS Innovation Manager, Josh Roberts, welcomed the news, saying that it was an endorsement of the benefits of approaching the issue through the Scottish Government’s Civ Tech Challenge.
“The Civ Tech challenge programme is a great. It’s effectively a way of crowd-sourcing solutions for a range of challenges that Scotland faces and it invites some of Britain’s best, technologically minded, innovative thinkers to put forward their ideas.
“The level of interest was amazing and some of the ideas pretty ingenious. The seed coating solution, which will be of benefit to many countries around the world, is a game-changer and it’s great to see that level of creativity and hard work recognised with a national industry award.”
SilviBio won the GROW Agri-Tech Business Plan Competition for 2020. GROW and Agri-TechE both aim to encourage and support the growth of a world-leading network of innovative farmers, producers, scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs who share a vision of increasing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agriculture.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.