Making small seeds matter in restoration

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Khiraj Bhalsing

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In ecosystems where the severity of disturbance precludes autogenic recovery, targeted seeding with a diverse mix of native species can be the only means of restoring ecosystems. However, the success rate of broadcast seeding can be constrained by biotic and abiotic factors that impair seedling emergence and development. These effects are felt most strongly for small seeded species. Pelleting small seeds has emerged as a promising strategy to address issues such as poor seedling emergence, physical soil crusting, seed predation, and low rates of seedling establishment. However, there have not yet been any comparative studies undertaken to understand whether single seed or multi-seed pellets represent the most effective strategy for delivery of native seeds in seed-based restoration activities. In this study, the efficacy of single versus multi-seed pelleting was assessed for three different small seeded species from the Midwest region of Western Australia, Eucalyptus loxophleba subsp. supralaevis, E. leptopoda subsp. elevata and Melaleuca hamata (Myrtaceae). Seeds were coated using a Pan Coating machine due to their small size and mass, representing the first such attempt based on review of the seed coating literature for native seeds. The study focused on the comparative performance of un-pelleted seeds, single seed pellets and multi-seed pellets based on the pellet’s physical quality and germination performance in lab-based experiments.

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Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration