Sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration
Selecting species and seed from appropriate sources to maximize project success faces many challenges. This presentation will review plant selection for ecosystem diversity that supports economically and ecologically practical outcomes. Habitat degradation and loss have accelerated globally, resulting in loss of biological diversity and species endangerment at unprecedented scales. Restoring habitats that provide ecosystem services necessary for all life is crucial. One of the biggest hurdles to habitat restoration is the availability of seeds of native plants to provide a diverse and resilient base of the food chain. Plant diversity is now clearly a fundamental driver of ecosystem services and the diversity of other organisms, and native plant diversity is needed because invasive plants tend to reduce diversity and homogenize vegetation on the landscape. Seeding with native plants is one of the few reliable methods of restoring diversity at all levels, even in the face of climate change and controversial novel ecosystems. Therefore, selecting and sourcing the right plants for restoration sites is vital for the successful establishment of diverse and resilient native ecosystems. This presentation webinar will describe the results of recent published and unpublished research on local adaptation, successful creation of diverse regional seed admixtures, the importance of landscape context, and innovative species selection strategies and tools. Dr. Tom Kaye is founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE), a nonprofit organization with a mission to conserve native habitats and species through research, restoration, and education. Tom serves on the board of directors of SER and is a courtesy Associate Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at OSU. Tom conducts research on rare species reintroductions, habitat restoration, plant invasions, and plant population responses to climate change, and engages prison inmates through the Sagebrush in Prisons Project.