Farming native seed for the future: Considering evolutionary potential and ecological function
Description: Agricultural seed production is needed to meet ambitious restoration goals, which will require more seeds than can be harvested from wild populations. However, there may be direct conflicts between traits that are favorable in conventional agriculture and those that are adaptive in restoration settings, which could have long-lasting impacts on restored communities. Here, we review some of these evolutionary and ecological conflicts and suggest research directions needed to meld the needs of agriculturalists and restoration practitioners. Partnerships between ecologists, engineers, breeders, and growers are essential to develop best practices for providing seeds for successful native species restoration.
Alison Agneray has ten years of experience executing long-range research and monitoring programs across the Western United States. She is currently a PhD candidate working with Dr. Beth Leger at the University of Nevada Reno to optimize seed mixes used to restore degraded habitats in North America’s Great Basin Desert.
Owen Baughman is a Restoration Scientist with The Nature Conservancy of Oregon, USA, and has worked to understand, test, and/or demonstrate new and innovative approaches to native plant restoration in North America’s sagebrush steppe. He earned an MS in Plant Ecology in 2014 from the University of Nevada Reno, and a BS in Ecology and Conservation Biology in 2010 from the University of Idaho.