RESTON, Va. - The Plant Conservation Alliance, a coalition of federal agencies and their Tribal, state and non-governmental partners with the goal to protect and restore resilient native plant communities, released a five-year progress report detailing coordinated efforts to increase the pace, quality and scale of native seed development and use in restoration efforts across our Nation.
National Seed Strategy Provides Native Seed Progress
The Plant Conservation Alliance published the National Seed Strategy Progress Report online to present progress towards meeting the increasing demand for native seeds to restore plant communities altered by natural or human-caused events on both public and private lands. The report is available at https://go.usa.gov/xMvtA.
Resilient native plant communities protect America’s lands, mountains, streams, vulnerable coastal communities and infrastructure from the effects of climate change and extreme weather events. Native plants are key to a restoration economy that engages our next generation of farmers, conservation professionals, scientists and land managers. Like timber, our native plants and the Nation’s native seed supply should be recognized, valued, protected and managed as crucial natural resources. The National Seed Strategy provides a framework for a coordinated approach for planting the right seed in the right place at the right time.
"We're proud of the work that's been done since 2015 to accomplish the goals of the National Seed Strategy," said Molly McCormick, an ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author of the report. "We’ve made important inroads to meet the great demand for native seeds; however, there is much work to do, with an estimated 74% of U.S. plant species seeds still unavailable in the quantities needed for restoration."
The progress report highlights the Alliance’s accomplishments in implementing the National Seed Strategy between 2015 and 2020. During that time, 380 Federal, Tribal, state and non-governmental partners reported progress toward the Strategy’s goals across 50 states and two U.S. territories, implementing projects across more than 10 million acres of public and private land. This included 278 seed collecting teams making 8,862 native seed collections. Seed storage capacity increased to 2.1 million pounds at two facilities and more than 250 types of native seed are now available for large-scale restoration projects. There are now thousands of native seed crops from across 32 ecoregions grown at more than 65 nurseries, farms, growers, and botanical gardens and through 21 regional seed partnerships.
“Native plants are the foundation of our most cherished landscapes,” said Dr. Patricia De Angelis, chair of the Plant Conservation Alliance Federal Committee and botanist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “By working across agencies and with partners to coordinate this science-driven effort to increase the supply of native plants, we are tackling climate change and supporting locally led restoration across the country. This is good for the environment and good for jobs.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $200 million to implement the National Seed Strategy and lay the foundation and funding for the research, development and partnerships that are needed to meet the demand of restoring resilient native plant communities with locally adapted native seed. This Progress Report combined with the recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Math's "Assessment of Native Seed Needs and Capacities," expected in early 2022, will help inform the update of the next version of the National Seed Strategy to more fully address national native seed needs in a changing climate.