On Monday, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a National Seed Strategy designed to aid in the rehabilitation and restoration of landscapes damaged by fire, invasive species, storms, and drought, according to a press release from the DOI.
The strategy was developed through a collaboration between a dozen federal agencies and more than 300 nonfederal partners. It calls for improvements in seed production and restoration technology and emphasizes the importance of locally adapted seeds, which serve as critical natural defenses.
It was unveiled at the Bureau of Land Management Boise Regional Seed Warehouse, a location chosen for its proximity to Idaho’s Soda Fire, which has burned 280,000 acres as of Monday, according to the Idaho Statesman.
“The focus is on making available the most appropriate seed for a given location by using seed zones, seed transfer guidelines, and genetically appropriate materials that have a high likelihood of success when planted,” Jeff Krauss, spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, told Outside. “This will help put the right seed in the right place at the right time.”
The strategy also outlines the establishment of a nationwide network of seed specialists, including:
- Native seed collectors
- Farmers and growers, to develop seed
- Nurseries and seed storage facilities, to store and supply appropriate seeds
- Restoration ecologists working on the ground
“Our nation’s seed resources are in danger, not only from extinction but also from misuse when nonlocal source seed is used,” said Krauss. “As such, our nation’s seed resources are in need of the same kind of forward-thinking management we demand for other valued natural resources, such as wildlife.”