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Individual Highlight

Provisional Seed Zones Developed to Guide Seed Source Decisions for Restoration of Native Species

Photo of A volunteer collects seed from bluebunch wheatgrass in the Blue Mountains, WA, as part of a study to develop seed zones and population movement guidelines. Bluebunch wheatgrass is often used to restore rangeland and burned forested areas. Brad St.Clair, USDA Forest ServiceA volunteer collects seed from bluebunch wheatgrass in the Blue Mountains, WA, as part of a study to develop seed zones and population movement guidelines. Bluebunch wheatgrass is often used to restore rangeland and burned forested areas. Brad St.Clair, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists developed generalized provisional seed zones that can be applied to any plant species in the United States to help guide seed movement. The proposed provisional seed zones delineate areas of climatic similarity, which when combined with areas of general ecological similarity as delineated by ecoregions, may be effective as a starting point for guiding seed transfer of species used in restoration.

Principal Investigators(s) :
St. Clair, Brad 
Research Location : National
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 674

Summary

The use of well-adapted and ecologically appropriate plant materials is a core component of a successful restoration program. Knowledge of local adaptation and population differentiation in adaptive traits, however, is lacking for many species, especially for shrubs, grasses and forbs used in restoration. Station scientists developed generalized provisional seed zones that can be applied to any plant species in the United States to help guide seed movement. Because plants are, in general, largely adapted to differences in climate as determined by cold temperatures and aridity, they mapped seed zones using the intersection of discrete bands of high-resolution climate data for minimum winter temperature and aridity as measured by the annual heat: moisture index. Ecoregions can be used to further refine seed improvement within a provisional seed zones, dependent upon local knowledge and acceptable risk. The provisional seed zones developed from this research are being incorporated into the restoration plans of the national forests in the Pacific Northwest and the Bureau of Land Management.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Pacific Northwest Resgion, Rocky Mountain Research Station
 

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