You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Selecting the provenance: Local native or nonlocal native?

Photo of Mature bluebunch wheatgrass reproductive seed stalks just before dispersal

Mature bluebunch wheatgrass reproductive seed stalks just before dispersal Snapshot : As the demand for seed and the global restoration effort continues to grow, choosing the provenance of seed remains an early and important part of the decision-making process for restoration practitioners. Traditionally, practitioners have sourced seed local to the restoration site, also known as local provenancing. The idea behind local provenancing is the expectation to maintain the evolutionary history of plant populations, minimize traits that are more harmful than helpful, and limit increased susceptibility or predisposition to disease.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kilkenny, Francis F.  
Research Location : International
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2018
Highlight ID : 1418


The impacts of habitat fragmentation and climate change on plant populations calls this approach into question, asking the restoration sector if the “local-is-best” standard could be supplemented with the use of nonlocal provenancing. Currently, there are two approaches for supplementing local provenances with nonlocal provenances: attempting to increase adaptability of plants by increasing genetic diversity of the seed mix, and considering anticipated future environmental conditions of a restoration site and recommending predicative and climate-adjusted provenancing. The authors recommend priority actions, including embedding provenance trials into restoration projects, developing dynamic, evidence-based provenance policies, and establishing stronger research-practitioner collaborations to promote provenance choice and implement research outcomes for future restoration projects. Understanding how a changing climate will impact future restoration projects is also an important consideration when making decisions around provenance.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Andrew J. Lowe, University of Adelaide
  • Anna Bucharova, Karl Eberhard University, Albert Ludwigs University
  • Armin Bischoff, University of Avignon
  • Emily K. Gonzales, Ecological Restoration Division at Parks Canada
  • Kayri Havens, University of Tasmania
  • Marion Karmann, Forest Stewardship Council, Bonn, Germany
  • Martin F. Breed, University of Adelaide
  • Nick J. Gellie, University of Adelaide
  • Patti L. Vitt, Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Paul G. Nevill, Curtin University
  • Paula Durruty, Instituto Forestal Nacional (INFONA)
  • Pedro Marques, Big Hole Watershed Committee, Montana
  • Peter A. Harrison, University of Tasmania
  • Siegfried L. Krauss, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, Western Australia

Program Areas