We discovered that the key to successful revegetation of native flora is in sourcing genetically diverse seed. This approach is being used to enhance revegetation efforts across Australia.

The challenge

Restoring impoverished landscapes

Land and water degradation resulting from vegetation clearance is a global problem.

Effective restoration techniques such as revegetation are essential in reducing the damage and improving the environment.

Effective revegetation can restore plant biodiversity.

Our response

Investigating the best seed source

We collaborated with the ARC-NZ Research Network for Vegetation Function to explore the issues associated with collecting seed for broadscale restoration projects.

It is common belief that local native plants are the best source of seed for revegetation projects, as they should be adapted to local conditions.

However, we found that where vegetation loss is high and across large areas, ‘local’ seed sources are often small and isolated and can be severely inbred resulting in poor seed crops or low quality seed.

This can lead to germination failure and poor seedling growth.

We also found that seed sourcing should concentrate less on collecting from local environments and more on capturing high quality and genetically diverse seed.

The results

Helping conservationists revegetate successfully

This approach is being used to ensure that restored plant populations across Australia have ample genetic diversity to respond to changing environments over the coming decades.

It’s helping conservationists revegetate native flora and re-establish biodiversity in impoverished landscapes with better chance of success.

Interested in helping us further this research?

We seek research collaborators with complementary skills so we can work together for stronger results.

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