Our research focuses on the population dynamics of plants and how they are influenced by impacts of natural disturbances and global environmental change. We are particularly interested in the interactive effects of fire, grazing and drought in grasslands and woodlands in southern Australia, and how climate change, fragmentation and shrub encroachment affect ecosystems.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The perils of wild seed harvesting - an update

I just had to share this post: The Promise and Peril of Wild Seed Harvesting

In a previous post, I raised some concern about the impact of harvesting seed for restoration from wild populations (in particular, from rare plants in small populations).

Justin Meissen and collaborators have just published an awesome paper called " Risks of overharvesting seed from native tallgrass prairies" in Restoration Ecology - see the abstract here.

They found evidence that some short-lived and non-clonal plants were negatively affected by seed harvesting for prairie restoration. They classified these species 'harvest-negative'. While the scales of wild harvesting for prairie restoration seems extraordinary, I'm sure that intensive harvesting of key species from small grassland remnants is just as damaging to their persistence here in southern Australia. All the more reason to move to seed production areas to produce the billions of propagules necessary for landscape-scale restoration.

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