Seeds of Success: A conservation and restoration investment in the future of US lands
Seeds of Success (SOS) is a national seed collection program led by the Bureau of Land Management. SOS represents the most comprehensive native seed repository in the United States, supporting native plant restoration, management, and research. Since inception in 2000, SOS has collected seeds from over 24,400 native plant populations from ~5,600 taxa from 43 states. Collections include species important to wildlife, pollinators, and indigenous people, and over 10,000 collections have been shared for restoration and research use. We asked how many SOS sites have burned since collection, and identified 662 fires at 631 sites. If fire continues at the pace observed since 2011, an estimated 14% of collection sites will burn by 2050 and over 24% by 2080, putting genetic diversity at risk in areas where fire is linked with invasion. Analysis of 14 native forb species from the western United States found that many collections were from the warmest and driest portions of their range, areas at the highest risk of wildfire, subsequent invasion, and local extinction. SOS provides an opportunity to understand change in natural populations, and represents a critical repository of native plant genetic resources for conservation and future use.