Broadhurst, L.M., A. Lowe, D.J. Coates, S.A Cunningham, M. McDonald, P.A. Vesk and C. Yates
Restoring degraded land to combat environmental degradation requires the collection of vast quantities of germplasm (seed). Sourcing this material raises questions related to provenance selection, seed quality and harvest sustainability. Restoration guidelines strongly recommend using local sources to maximize local adaptation and prevent outbreeding depression, but in highly modified landscapes this restricts collection to small remnants where limited, poor quality seed is available, and where harvesting impacts may be high. We review three principles guiding the sourcing of restoration germplasm: (i) the appropriateness of using ‘local’ seed, (ii) sample sizes and population characteristics required to capture sufficient genetic diversity to establish self-sustaining populations and (iii) the impact of over-harvesting source populations.