By Simone Pedrini, Nancy Shaw, Olga Kildisheva and Kingsley Dixon
With the roaring sound of the mighty Iguassu Falls still resonating in our ears and a vague “saudade” feeling, we leave this beautiful Brazilian land and salute our old and new “ecological restoration” fellows/ companheiros/ compañeros.
A place where three countries meets (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina), blessed by some of the most astonishing showcases of human ingenuity (Itaipu dam) and natural wonder (Iguassu Falls), was the perfect setting for the 7th World Conference on Ecological Restoration.
Almost a thousand attendees from more than sixty counties shared their experiences, theories and ideas over five, very intense, days of the conference.
The native seed community, was very well represented during the INSR’s first full day symposium: Seed Based Restoration: Innovations, Opportunities and Challenges. Seventeen delegates from the US, Brazil, Mexico, China, Germany, Australia, Spain, Scotland and Italy presented their global experiences on topics from seed collection and treatment, all the way to application of seed technology and seeding.
The symposium was a resounding success and introduced the INSR to scientists and practitioners, especially those from Latin America, who interacted with the network for the first time.
But the INSR symposium was far from been the only seed based activity presented at the conference. Martin Breed and Anna Bucharova tackled the dispute of seed origin hosting a symposium on: USING NON-LOCAL PLANTS FOR RESTORATION: FALLACY OR FUNDAMENTAL?
A session on seed and seedling production presented issues related to seed provenance, the impact of harvesting seed from natural populations and the gap between restoration demand and seed/seedling availability.
Most exciting of all were a series of meetings and symposia about the Brazilian native seed experiences. Although those sessions were hold in Portuguese with simultaneous translation, the message was quite clear. In the past 10-15 years, organisations in rural Brazil have managed to pull off major seed-based restoration through creation of a series of network that work with indigenous people who collect, treat and provide the large quantities of native seed for the restoration of agricultural land, mandated by the government. This model represents an outstanding standard that could be applied and replicated in other countries worldwide.
Moreover, the enthusiasm, the passion and the friendship shown by the Brazilian delegates was inspirational for us all, and a great boost of energy that will propel and improve the use of native seed for ecological restoration, world-wide .