Choosing the Right Plant Materials
Consideration of the origin and genetic diversity of planting stock can be one of the most important decisions in a restoration project.
- Selecting Native Plant Materials for Restoration Projects: Ensuring local adaptation and maintaining genetic diversity (PDF, 4.5 MB)
Seed zones and plant movement guidelines are used to help determine which plant materials would be best adapted to the climate and environment of a particular planting site.
Developing seed zones is a slow process, involving the measurement and analysis of plant traits over several years in a common garden study. Seed zones have been developed for many important forest tree species, but guidelines are generally lacking for other native species, especially grasses and forbs.
In the western regions of the Forest Service, where climates and environments tend to be extremely variable, research studies are underway to develop seed zones for a number of important restoration species, including mountain brome, bluebunch wheatgrass, prairie junegrass, Indian ricegrass, lupine, and others.
For additional information, see:
In the absence of seed zones derived from studies of adaptive genetic variation, provisional seed zones for native plants have been developed based on climate data.
Seed Zone Mapper
The Seed Zone Mapper is a new mapping application that allows end-users to easily view and download data on provisional seed zones for use in plant material development and gene conservation and restoration activities. Species-specific seed zones from common garden studies are also available. The Seed Zone Mapper contains a rich collection of background maps and ancillary layers (boundaries, etc.) in addition to the seed zone layers. More seed zones will be added as they become available.
Other Sources of Information
- Plant Hardiness Zones
- Prism Data Explorer, PRISM Group, Oregon State University
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Level IV Ecoregion Maps
- Bailey's Ecoregions and Subregions of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Oregon Department of Forestry Seed Zone Maps
- Washington Tree Seed Transfer Zones
- California Tree Seed Zones