From the flower to the field

Global examples of best-practices for collecting seeds from the wild for use in restoration

Stephanie Frischie, Kingsley Dixon, Cándido Gálvez Ramírez, Stacy Jacobsen, Maria Tudela Isanta, Greg Livovich

Multiple options are available for obtaining seeds to use in restoration and the method of choice will vary depending on project goals and constraints. Seeds collected from natural and spontaneous plant populations are important as restoration seed mixes, foundation seed for establishing production beds, germplasm for developing cultivars, and seed bank accessions for research and ex situ conservation. For most regions and for most species, seed farming is nonexistent, impractical, or insufficient to meet the demand of seeds for restoration. We discuss the range of approaches for obtaining seeds: wild collection, contract collection, in-house production, purchase and the advantages/disadvantages of each. With experiences and practices from around the world, we give practical considerations for making wild collections: planning which species and quantities, locating populations, securing permission, evaluating populations, collecting the seeds, recommendations for tools and field safety. Particular examples come from South America (Bolivia), North America (USA: California, Indiana), and Europe (Spain, Italy). Finally, we review best-practices for seed handling and short-term storage of seeds between collection and deployment.