Seed sourcing for restoration in an era of climate change

Kayri Havens*, Pati Vitt, Shannon Still, Andrea T. Kramer, Jeremie B. Fant, Katherine Schatz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Proper sourcing of seed for ecological restoration has never been straightforward, and it is becoming even more challenging and complex as the climate changes. For decades, restoration practitioners have subscribed to the "local is best" tenet, even if the definition of "local" was often widely divergent between projects. However, given our increasing ability to characterize habitats, and rapid climate change, we can no longer assume that locally sourced seeds are always the best or even an appropriate option. We discuss how plants are responding to changing climates through plasticity, adaptation, and migration, and how this may influence seed sourcing decisions. We recommend focusing on developing adequate supplies of "workhorse" species, undertaking more focused collections in both "bad" years and "bad" sites to maximize the potential to be able to adapt to extreme conditions as well as overall genetic diversity, and increasing seed storage capacity to ensure we have seed available as we continue to conduct research to determine how best to deploy it in a changing climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-133
Number of pages12
JournalNatural Areas Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • assisted migration
  • climate change
  • provenance
  • restoration
  • seed sourcing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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