Seed planning, sourcing, and procurement

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Ensuring the availability of adequate seed supplies of species and sources appropriate for restoration projects and programs necessitates extensive science‐based planning. The selection of target species requires a review of disturbance conditions and reference areas, development of a reference model, and consideration of specific objectives, timeframes, available resources, and budgets as well as the performance of prospective species in past restoration efforts. Identification of seed sources adapted to site conditions is critical to provide for short‐term establishment and long‐term sustainability. Seed zones and plant movement guidelines provide tools for sourcing plant materials with reduced risk of maladaptation. A seed zone framework also facilitates seed use planning and contributes to stability and predictability of the commercial market, thereby reducing costs and improving the availability of adapted seed supplies. Calculating the amount of seed required for each species is based on seed quality (viability, purity), seed weight, expected seedling establishment, and desired composition of the seeding. If adequate collections from wildland stands are not feasible, then seed increase in seed fields or use of nursery stock may be warranted. Adherence to seed collection and seed production protocols for conserving genetic diversity is critical to protect genetic resources and buffer new seedings and plantings against environmental stressors. Maintenance of genetic diversity becomes even more critical considering current or expected climate change impacts. Collaboration and partnerships can benefit seed selection and procurement programs through sharing of information, coordination in project planning, and increasing the availability of native seed.

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