Seeds of Success: a conservation and restoration investment in the future of US lands

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Sarah Barga, Peggy Olwell, Fred Edwards, Leah Prescott, Elizabeth Leger

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Seed collection programs curate valuable genetic material to support native plant restoration, land management, and research. Collections include plant species important for wildlife, pollinators, and indigenous people. It is important to assess seed collection efforts to ensure they will support current and future needs. Seeds of Success (SOS) is a national program, led by the Bureau of Land Management, whose seed collections provide opportunities to understand change in natural populations and that are a critical repository of native plant genetic material for conservation and future use (Figure 1). We assessed the efforts of the SOS program by asking how many SOS sites have burned since seed collection and performing an in-depth analysis of 14 native forb species that are included in the SOS collections and are important for restoration. We identified 662 fires burning on 631 collection sites, as well as an increase in the burning of collection sites starting in 2011. Our focal species analysis found that many collections come from the warmest and driest portions of their range; however, further work could improve the alignment of the environmental conditions at collection sites with conditions at locations of planned or implemented restoration seeding activities. Appropriately selecting priority species and populations for seed collection and restoration is important for achieving conservation objectives and the future health of US lands depends on our present seed collection and seed banking activities.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program