BR and the MAPP Initiative Release A Seed Strategy for the Madrean Archipelago
Our work with the Madrean Archipelago Plant Propagation (MAPP) Initiative goes beyond production management – in 2016, MAPP Initiative partners Borderlands Restoration, Gila Watershed Partnership, the Bureau of Land Management Safford Field Office, and the National Park Service Southwest Exotic Plant Management Team worked together to complete the first draft of a regional seed strategy that focuses on developing capacity for native seed collection, cleaning, production and storage in the Madrean Archipelago eco-region.
View the 2016 draft: A Seed Strategy for the Madrean Archipelago
Authors: Steve Buckley (1,2), Allegra Mount (3), Francesca Claverie (3), Justin Johnson (4), David Seibert (3), Ashlee Simpson (1,2), Oliver Lysaght (3).
- Bureau of Land Management
- National Park Service
- Borderlands Restoration L3C
- Gila Watershed Partnership 501(c)3
Resources for Practitioners
The regional seed strategy contains the following resources for practitioners:
- Information on how and why to utilize locally-sourced native plant material in projects, including contact information for regional producers.
- Detailed results of the surveys distributed to native seed users and producers (in Appendix).
- The 2016-17 Target Species list for conservation collections
- A timeline for basic strategy execution 2017-2022
- An invitation to participate!
The need for a regional seed strategy
In 2015, the Bureau of Land Management released the National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration, which outlined the deficit of available and genetically appropriate native seed on a national scale. It outlines a series of objectives to guide federal and non-federal land managers and practitioners in meeting the challenge of increasing the availability and use of locally-sourced seed – which provides significant long-term ecological benefits by promoting adaptations, physical and genetic, of plants to their place. For too long, it has been common practice to transfer seed across major bioregional boundaries for use in large-scale restoration projects.
The Madrean Archipelago ecoregion is unique in its topographic and biological complexity – our Ponderosa, Oak, and Pinon-Juniper forested mountain ranges tower thousands of feet above semidesert grassland and scrubland floors that support robust riparian areas; over 33% of all of the nation’s Threatened & Endangered species are found within the region; and we are home to the highest recorded diversity of bee and pollinator species in North America. The region is bisected by a major geopolitical border, across which plant materials cannot travel by law. This adds an additional layer that requires a unique, specific approach. Ensuring a sustainable supply of genetically-appropriate seed into the future is extremely important for a region of such intrinsic complexity and critical biological value for both indigenous and migratory species.
What’s new: the National Seed Strategy vs. a Regional Seed Strategy
While the national strategy sets up a critical framework for national priorities, it falls short of dictating regional specifics. Existing operations in both our and neighboring regions benefit from federal funding to support capacity building, infrastructure, research and development, however we continue to rely on small contracts with defined deliverables for funding. Deliverables across multiple grants are not always related, and while they all focus on using locally-sourced native plant materials, they lack a cohesive framework for relating these small projects to federal objectives. Through this strategic document, we hope to catalyze regional efforts to build a genetically-diverse native seed bank that will prepare us for a number of plant materials development opportunities over the next 5 years. The goals of the strategy are as follows:
- Summarize an innovative plant materials program that supports an interagency seed collection team, cleaning and curation facility, and a network of propagation and production facilities.
- Outline regional plant materials needs and assets and objectives using a 5 year strategic outlook
- Present a priority species list for collection in the Madrean Archipelago and a framework for priority species selection
- Provide guidance on how to develop missing components of a regional plant materials production system; including capacity for bulk seed cleaning, storage, and production.
If you have any questions or would like to participate in the execution of our strategy, please contact MAPP Initiative Seed Lab Manager Allegra Mount at firstname.lastname@example.org.