The Science Behind the Selection of Native Plant Materials for Restoration and Revegetation

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Over the last decade, there has been increasing interest in using genetically appropriate seed for ecological restoration and revegetation efforts. However, little is known about the scale or magnitude of ecotypic variation among populations for many of the plants species being used for restoration. Furthermore, although locally adapted plant materials often are considered the gold standard for restoration, other genetic considerations may be equally as important to consider in highly degraded areas and areas with rapidly changing environmental conditions.

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Dr. Cara R. Nelson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Sciences and Conservation at University of Montana’s W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation and the Director of the College’s Restoration Ecology Laboratory. Cara received Masters degrees in Forestry and in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Forest Ecosystem Analysis from the University of Washington. Cara teaches undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses in restoration science and practice and has 15 years of experience contributing to global restoration initiatives. She served as the Chair of the international Society for Ecological Restoration, the leading professional organization for restoration scientists and practitioners.