Selecting native plant material for restoration projects in different ecosystems: Successes and challenges
Description: Due to loss of natural ecosystems and biodiversity around the world along the past decades, international initiatives are being developed to establish a foundation for the restoration of diverse ecosystems, prioritizing ecosystem biodiversity and resilience while also recognizing impacts on rural livelihoods and carbon storage. As programs have become more refined, a shift from revegetation with available material to using native plant materials of known genetic origin has been underway, and achieving increasing priority at an international level. Through research and collaborative partnerships, on local, regional and international levels, and between public and private sectors, approaches are being developed that addresses the challenges in using native genetic plant material in ecological restoration. Four study cases from different geographic locations and climatic conditions were selected to demonstrate the successes in using native genetic plant material, developing a baseline for native genetic resource management, and meeting challenges according to every ecosystem’s limiting factors. In Jordan’s desert ecosystem a developed native seed strategy has majorly improved seedling quality and post-planting survival rate. In the tropical ecosystem of Guinea Conakry, the major challenge is to identify best seed collection times and seed handling techniques to improve seed germination and propagation of native seedlings through seeds for the restoration of the Bossou corridor. Within Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, an emphasis is being made on the development of a traceability system for native genetic plant material used in restoration projects, considering the genetic variability within native species, starting with Cedrus atlantica. In Lebanon, considering the diverse ecosystems, a scheme for the selection of native plant material is developed within every restoration project, for dryland, riparian or forest ecosystems.
Speaker: Karma Bouazza, Lebanon Reforestation Initiative