Alaska Plant Materials Center gardens

NATIONAL SEED STRATEGY

Resilience through Restoration

Human influences such as invasive species, altered wildfire regimes, and natural disasters are negatively affecting our native plant communities and the many species that depend upon them. Our ability to repair these damaged lands and stem the loss of cultural and economic benefits to society depends upon appropriate seed, research, decision tools, and public support for ecological restoration. Through collaboration and communication, we can more effectively manage public lands, rebuild resilient native plant communities, and protect our valuable natural resources.

The National Seed Strategy fosters interagency collaboration to guide the development, availability, and use of seed needed for timely and effective restoration. The Strategy includes four goals, with associated objectives and initial actions (2015-2020) to improve seed supplies for restoring healthy and productive native plant communities.

The National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration helps guide ecological restoration across large landscapes of the United States, especially lands damaged by rangeland fires, invasive species, severe storms and drought.

Strategy actions are centered around four major goals: 

Goal 1: Identifying and Quantifying Seed Needs

Identify Seed Needs, and Ensure the Reliable Availability of Genetically Appropriate Seed

Objective 1.1: Assess the Seed Needs of Federal Agencies and the Capacity of Private and Federal Producers

Objective 1.2: Assess Capacity and Needs of Tribes, States, Private Sector Seed Producers, Nurseries, and Other Partners

Objective 1.3: Increase the Supply and Reliable Availability of Genetically Appropriate Seed

Goal 2: Undertaking Research and Improving Technologies for Seed Production and Use

Identify Research Needs and Conduct Research to Provide Genetically Appropriate Seed and to Improve Technology for Native Seed Production and Ecosystem Restoration

Objective 2.1: Characterize Genetic Variation of Restoration Species to Delineate Seed Zones, and Provide Seed Transfer Guidelines for Current and Projected Future Environmental Conditions

Objective 2.2: Conduct Species-Specific Research to Provide Seed Technology, Storage, and Production Protocols for Restoration Species

Objective 2.3: Conduct Research on Plant Establishment, Species Interactions, and Ecological Restoration

Objective 2.4: Develop or Modify Monitoring Techniques, and Investigate Long-Term Restoration Impacts and Outcomes

Goal 3: Developing Tools for Land Managers

Develop Tools that Enable Managers to Make Timely, Informed Seeding Decisions for Ecological Restoration

Objective 3.1: Develop Training Programs for Practitioners, Producers, and Stakeholders on the Use of Genetically Appropriate Seed for Restoration

Objective 3.2: Develop Native Seed Source Availability Data and Tools for Accessing the Data

Objective 3.3: Integrate and Develop Science Delivery Tools to Support Restoration Project Development and Implementation

Objective 3.4: Build on Ecological Assessments and Disturbance Data, and Provide Training that will Allow Managers to Anticipate Needs and Establish Spatially-Explicit Contingency Strategies

Goal 4: Ensuring Good Communications

Develop Strategies for Internal and External Communication

Objective 4.1: External Communications: Conduct Education and Outreach through the Plant Conservation Alliance Network

Objective 4.2: Internal Communications: Distribute and Implement the Strategy Across Agencies, and Provide Feedback Mechanisms

Objective 4.3: Report Progress, Recognize Achievements, and Revise Strategy

Organizations and individuals at the national, state and local level all will contribute to common goals, pooling resources, sharing information and achieving results for advancing plant conservation on a broad scale.   

Plant Conservation Alliance

The Plant Conservation Alliance developed the National Seed Strategy in 2015 to address widespread shortages of native seed. Learn more about this network of over 400 public and private partners dedicated to native plant conservation.

National Seed Strategy Twitter

Plant Conservation Alliance Facebook

Hot Off the Press

PCA Fact Sheet on National Seed Strategy Progress Report

The Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA) received 460 responses to their call for Federal projects that implemented the National Seed Strategy during its first five years (2015-2020). The PCA has summarized the data from these responses into a one-page fact sheet, with a full progress report expected Summer 2021. Download the PCA's one-pager on the National Seed Strategy Progress Report here.

National Academies interim report on native seed needs and supply

In October 2020, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released an interim report for the first ever independent assessment of native seed needs and capacities in the U.S. These efforts, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, directly support Goal 1 of the National Seed Strategy: “Identify Seed Needs, and Ensure the Reliable Availability of Genetically Appropriate Seed.” Download a free pdf of the interim report or read it online here.

Large survey of native plant material users throughout the Eastern US

In 2018, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank (MARSB) conducted the first survey of native plant material users from across the entire Eastern United States in order to better understand eastern trends of native plant material use and availability. Of the 760 respondents, 74% expressed a preference for local ecotypes, and only 0.3% for cultivars. Read the full report here.

Open Access Native Seed Standards for Ecological Restoration

The First International Principles and Standards for Native Seeds in Ecological Restoration are now available in a Special Issue of Restoration Ecology. This Special Issue was developed by the International Network for Seed-based Restoration (INSR), a thematic section of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and is completely Open Access (free to read, download and share), thanks in large part to support from the Bureau of Land Management. Download a pdf of the Standards for Native Seeds in Ecological Restoration here.