On October 25th, 2012, Heather Liljengren, Seed Bank Coordinator for the Greenbelt Native Plant Center, found herself on Rockaway Beach, New York, making a seed collection when she came across one of the few remaining natural populations of Ammophila breviligulata (American Beachgrass) on the Rockaway Peninsula.
The Bend Seed Extractory (BSE), a facility of the US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region located in Bend, Oregon is dedicated to seed and only seed. The facility provides a variety of services to public agencies across the United States. We extract, process, test, package, and store seed for more than 3,000 different species and our seed lots vary from a few tablespoons to thousands of pounds.
For the past few decades, Lebanon has been facing an ongoing, and rapid, decrease in its natural spaces, with only 13% of forest cover remaining. Several factors contribute to this rapid loss, including urbanization, grazing, climate change and unmanaged natural resources. One of the major challenges facing effective landscape restoration is the proper use of native genetic resources successfully and sustainably.
Many scientists and social scientists are becoming more and more familiar with using a holistic approach, such as integrating and understanding the ecological, economic and social values of applied research. There are two primary factor that can greatly help or hinder restoration: policy and society.
Since 2012, the Irati Proyectos company, based in Spain, promote the use of wild flowers for meadow creation in landscape architecture projects. In particular, native seed mixes of herbaceous flowers are used in peri-urban parks, to promote the characteristic biodiversity of the Mediterranean landscape. These experiences are also becoming useful models for many other projects dealing with urban landscape architecture.
In 2014 the Conservancy began working with NPS, and volunteers to restore the Park’s five meadows. Volunteer labor was used to clear invasive plants and sow a mixture of native warm-season grasses. Native seed collected from the Park was used to supplement a seed mix designed by well-known meadow expert Larry Weaner.
When we think about seed-based restoration, we usually refer to rehabilitation of large degraded patches of land to bring them back to the original natural or semi-natural state.
Rarely do we think about restoration activities integrated into the urban environment, with its patchwork of remnant ecosystems, designed parkland and utilitarian green infrastructure. The benefits of green urban areas are many, ranging from combating the urban heat island phenomenon to providing shelter for humans and wildlife. The choice of using native plants in these ecosystems may result in lower maintenance costs and help prevent a further spread of alien plants to surrounding rural and natural areas.
The BGCI - Botanic Gardens Conservation International launched the Global Seed Conservation Challenge Awards. With over 180 member gardens, the GSCC works to both support and challenge botanic gardens to work outside their garden walls to collect, bank and conserve seeds of threatened species towards Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. As part of the GSCC, BGCI will be awarding prizes for seed conservation at the 6th Global Botanic Garden Congress (6GBGC).
The National Native Seed Conference 2017 was held in Washington, D.C. from the 13th to the 16th of February, organized by the Institute for Applied Ecology. This biennial event brought together 350 participants from a wide array of stakeholder groups, restoration practitioners, researchers, native seed growers, land managers, and policy makers. Previously held in the western United States, the choice to hold the 2017 meeting in Washington, D.C. allowed for a new suite of individuals and organizations to be represented. Furthermore, being in the nation’s capital allowed scientists and practitioners to interact with congressmen, senators, lobbyists, and various components of the political system that they are typically far separated from. In a climate of diminishing environmental protection funding there was a strong emphasis on advocacy, especially for the Botanical Science bill, HR 1054. The conference was organized around the National Seed Strategy, and featured inspiring plenaries, oral presentations, panel discussions, roundtables, a lively poster session, and exhibits from the seed producers, seed testing agencies and professional societies.