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Genetic Diversity in Restoration Materials and the Impacts of Seed Collection in Colorado’s Restoration Plant Production Industry


Address correspondence to S. L. Smith, email


The ever increasing demand for native plants and seed for use in restoration and revegetation has created a sizable industry. The large-scale production and planting of native plants have given rise to a suite of ecological concerns including collection impacts, genetic diversity, and provenance. This study examines the practices and beliefs of 12 restoration plant production companies in Colorado with regard to arising ecological issues and identifies where further research is needed. We found that native seed collection in Colorado was largely unregulated and unmonitored and impacts were unknown. Maintaining genetic diversity in restoration materials is costly and does not have universal support. The use of provenance material (or local ecotypes) was hotly contested with strong and sound arguments on both sides of the issue. Procurement of pure ecotypes was difficult because of the variety of institutions involved in production and complications such as artificial selection and cross-pollination.