International principles and standards for native seeds in restoration

Pedrini S, Dixon KW (2020) International principles and standards for native seeds in restoration. Restoration Ecology 

The growing demand for native seeds in ecological restoration and rehabilitation, whether for mining, forest or ecosystem restoration, has resulted in a major global industry in the sourcing, supply and sale of native seeds. However, there are no international guidance documents for ensuring that native seeds have the same standards of quality assurance that are regular practice in the crop and horticultural industries globally. Using the International Principles and Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration as a foundation document, we provide for the first time a synthesis of general practices in the native seed supply chain to derive the Principles and Standards for Native Seeds (‘Standards’). These practices and the underpinning science provide the basis for developing quality measures and guidance statements that are adaptable at the local, biome or national scale. Importantly, these Standards define what is considered native seed in ecological restoration and highlight the differences between native seeds versus seeds of improved genetics. Seed testing approaches are provided within a logical framework that outline the many different dormancy states in native seed that can confound restoration outcomes. A ‘pro‐forma’ template for a production label is included as a practical tool that can be customised for local needs and to standardise reporting to end‐users on the level of seed quality and germinability to be expected in a native seed batch. These Standards are not intended to be mandatory, however, the guidance statements provide the foundation upon which regulatory approaches can be developed by constituencies and jurisdictions.