Highlights from the September 15 workshop: Growing Through Change: Sourcing Climate-Resilient Seed for Ecological Restoration

On September 15th, 2020, 124 participants from across the Midwest and the broader United States, as well as Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Germany, came together for a virtual workshop: Growing Through Change – Sourcing Climate-Resilient Seed for Ecological Restoration. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the most current research, challenges, and best practices related to sourcing seed for ecological restoration while building resilience to climate change. 

Click here to view an edited recording of the full workshop (2 hours and 15 minutes),

or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://youtu.be/mYO1E-UtGXM

The workshop featured three plenary speakers as well as lightning talks by land managers and seed producers.

Plenary speaker: Dr. Julie Etterson, third from left above, is a professor at the Institute on the Environment at University of Minnesota, Duluth, and principal scientist at Project Baseline, was the first speaker. Dr. Etterson studies the evolution of plant populations in response to climate change. Her presentation highlighted her research on whether plant populations can adapt to keep pace with climate change and whether we should restore sites with plant material that is “preadapted” to the climate of the future. Dr. Etterson’s research provides evidence for the value of climate-informed restoration practices.

Plenary speaker: Dr. Anna Bucharova, shown above, is assistant professor in the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group at the Institute of Landscape Ecology, Münster presented the next talk: “Mix and Match: Production of Seeds for Restoration in Germany.” She focuses her research on plant evolutionary ecology, specifically the challenges in using seeds for ecological restoration in a changing environment and the rapid evolution of plants in response to climate change. Dr. Bucharova discussed the effects of seed cultivation on plant genetics and evolution and their implications for seed-based restoration in a changing climate.

Plenary speaker: Jennifer Ogle, shown above is the coordinator of the Arkansas Native Seed Program and collections manager at the University of Arkansas Herbarium, was the workshop’s final speaker. Her presentation highlighted the program’s work to develop ecoregional sources of locally adapted native seed for large-scale habitat restoration and revegetation projects in Arkansas. The program is currently focused on developing demand and incentivizing the use of locally sourced native seed for agencies working in Arkansas, training volunteers to collect seed, increasing seed storage capacity, and developing sustainable ecotypes of target species.

About Grassland Restoration Network blog

Bill Kleiman publishes this blog. Bill's daytime job is manager of Nachusa Grasslands. We are looking for guest authors on various topics of grassland habitat restoration. Contact me with your ideas or drafts.
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2 Responses to Highlights from the September 15 workshop: Growing Through Change: Sourcing Climate-Resilient Seed for Ecological Restoration

  1. James McGee says:

    It might not be good new, but I can vouch for things from Texas thriving in northern Illinois. I grow a number of plants from Texas in my garden to provide a nectar source for ruby-throated hummingbirds. I have Clematis texensis (TX), Penstemon cardinalis (TX, NM), and Penstemon murrayanus (TX and adjacent LA, AR, and OK). There is even one spontaneous seedling that looks like it is a C. texensis. I had Phlox nana (TX, NM, AZ) in a flat outside for a couple of years. Eventually it died, but it would have probably survived had I gotten around to finding a place to plant it in my garden.

    Considering more southern species are being found in the region regularly, it appears the plants that have the ability to migrate are already doing it.

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