Plant Conservation Program

Native Plant Materials 

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Native Plant Material Links
Why Use Native Plants?
Native Seed Source
Seeds of Success
Seed Cleaning
Seed Collecting 
BLM WY Uses Native Seed

Native Plant Materials Development Process

Click on the different steps in the chart to learn more about the Native Plant Material Development Process.

Fast Fact: This process takes an average of 10-20 years to develop a consistent, reliable commercially available species.


Step 1: Native Seed Collection - The Native Plant Materials Development Program begins with seed collection through an SOS intern, agency staff or a contracted employee. The collector will find a native plant population that has the capacity to produce at least 10,000 seeds. Once the seed is ripe, the population will be harvested and sent to the Bend Seed Extractory for cleaning and storage. Step 2: Evaluation & Development - If more than 10,000 seeds are collected, the seed is typically sent to an NRCS Native Plant Materials Center where the seed will go through trials involved with germination and competition between species. Step 3: Field Establishment - After the plant trials, if the seed is deemed valuable and useful for restoration, it will be increased on a small-scale, harvested and made available for commercial use. Step 4: Seed Production by Private Growers - Private growers will take the commercial original seed stock and harvest seed in the millions of pounds for market. However, seed is not always produced in the millions of pounds. For site specific restoration purposes, it will be increased on a smaller scale. Step 5: Seed Storage - BLM purchases seed annually. The seed goes into its large storage facilities. As a result, fluctuations in seed stock are not as drastic between low and high Fire Step 6: Restore Native Plant Communities - The native seed is then used to restore, stabilize and reclaim disturbed areas on the public lands. Native Plant Materials Development Process.

Why Does BLM Need a Native Plant Materials Development Program?

The BLM is the largest native seed buyer in the Western Hemisphere, purchasing more than 11 million pounds of native seed between 2004 and 2008, an average of 2.2 million pounds per year. Currently, native seed is not available in the quantity and quality the BLM needs for fire rehabilitation, reclamation and restoration projects. Because of the lack of commercially available native seed, BLM must often use nonnative seed; BLM purchased over 6.6 million pounds of nonnative seed between 2004 - 2008.

BLM Ecoregional Native Plant Programs
Colorado Plateau Native Plant Initiative 
Great Basin Native Plant Selection & Increase Project 

Plant Material Centers 
Meeker Plant Materials Center 
Bridger Plant Materials Center