Often the first step in repairing damaged lands is Emergency Stabilization which focuses on post-fire seeding of species to prevent soil erosion by wind and water.
Rehabilitation activities provide the next step by adding keystone species for wildlife like food and cover.
Restoration activities include actions that aim to ensure the full complement of ecological services is available, ensuring site resilience over the long-term.
The ultimate goal of the process is to restore native plant communities that provide ecosystem services and wildlife habitat. Restoration results benefit from incorporating genetic considerations, including using the research to choose the best seed source and seed mix to maximize plant establishment and sustainability in a changing climate.
Great Basin Sagebrush Project is part of the Sustainability in Prisons Project. It is an environmental partnership between the Institute for Applied Ecology, Department of Corrections, and the Bureau of Land Management to provide unique and meaningful ecological activities to incarcerated men and women with the goal of restoring sagebrush habitat for the greater sage-grouse in the great basin region through a six state grow out initiative.
Provisional Seed Zones
One key to successful restoration is using plant materials that are well suited to a particular site. Provisional seed zones help answer the question: Are plant materials sourced from site A ecologically appropriate for restorations at site B?
Based on the research of Bower et al. 2014, provisional seed zones outline areas within ecoregions that are similar in climate. Transferring seeds within zones reduces the risk of maladaptation. This guidance is generalized for all species, but research is currently underway to elucidate seed zones for individual species.