Is local provenance important in habitat creation? A reply
N.R. Sackville Hamilton, Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3EB, UK (fax +44 1970821987; e-mail email@example.com).
- 1Wilkinson (2001) argues that we cannot assume that hybrids between local and alien genotypes will have low fitness, and therefore, as low hybrid fitness has been presented as justification for using only locally provenanced material in habitat restoration schemes, provenance is not important.
- 2His observations on fitness are important, correct and deserve wider recognition.
- 3Nevertheless, I dispute his conclusion about the importance of provenance, for two main reasons. One is that his argument is based on questionable objectives for biodiversity conservation. The second is that, even if we accept these underlying objectives, the fitness of hybrids is only one of numerous relevant issues.
- 4Use of locally provenanced seed should be standard practice, except where the introduction of non-local genotypes is specifically justified in terms of conservation genetics.