Sound knowledge on the species is essential as a prerequisite for ensuring their conservation. Since 1992, CPS has started a research programme on the current distribution and actual level of threat for priority plant species in Switzerland. As a first step, 40 species threatened at European and global level were considered; subsequently, since 1997 and in collaboration with the Swiss Floristic Network, another 100 species threatened at the Swiss level have been added. Results of these studies are summarized in the Data sheets for practical conservation.
The research has demonstrated that, for some species, immediate intervention is required to ensure their survival. In 1995, CPS started a conservation project for the marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) and the dwarf least bulrush (Typha minima). Currently, several projects are on-going for priority species which are available in a Database regularly updated by the CPS.
Conservation projects need to take into account the Recommendations for the ex situ culture of threatened wild plants and their reintroduction in nature, based on international guidelines issued by IUCN and the Council of Europe.
Recommendations for wild flower seed
Since the early 90's, the introduction of wild plants in nature has become increasingly frequent; which has encouraged the CPS to prepare Recommendations for the production and use of wild flower seed (rev. 2001). These recommendations aim at preserving our indigenous flora from the introduction of alien material coming from another biogeographical region or from a foreign country. They encompass guidelines for reintroductions and detailed species lists. They also indicate the suitable geographical range of the used plant material.
Invasive alien plants
Since several years, it has been demonstrated that invasive alien plant species (invasive neophytes) may threaten the indigenous flora of Switzerland. To address this issue, the CPS has elaborated the following documents: the Black List and the Watch List of proven of potential invasive species, a Classification key, Information sheets for invasive neophytes and a progress report on the situation in Switzerland (Summary).
The CPS is continuing this research with a mandate from the Federal Office for Environment (FOEN) and is acting as an information centre concerning invasive alien plants.