Ecosourcing Native Plants Seed Collection Project

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Ecosourcing Native Plants Seed Collection Project

Ecosourcing means using plants grown from local seed. This is now accepted good practice for ecological plantings and has several advantages including:

  • Protecting the genetic diversity within local populations
  • Protecting the character of local ecosystems from being swamped by imported varieties from other areas
  • Providing the best chance of planting success by using plants that have adapted to local conditions

Ecosourcing is quite difficult in Marlborough, partly because some local species have all but disappeared, and also because it is costly and difficult for plant nurseries to collect seed from dispersed sources. Ideally, seed should be collected as close as possible to the original site and at least within the ecological district area. However, this is not always possible and two broad ecosourcing zones for Marlborough have been agreed to by Council ecologists, Department of Conservation and QEII staff to provide a practical minimum guide to sourcing of seed.

Since 2006, Council has undertaken to collect some local seed with the cooperation of private landowners. Species and locations are shown on the map below.

The seed has been provided to local nurseries specialising in native plants. Ask for ecosourced plants at local nurseries; demand will help to create supply.

Keen landowners can collect their own locally sourced seed for propagating by a local nursery, using sites on their own or neighbours' properties as a source. This, of course, involves having to think ahead, as it will involve a couple of years' delay before planting can occur, but should ensure ecologically worthwhile results and high plant survival.