Fit for purpose seed supply systems for the implementation of landscape restoration under Initiative 20x20: An analysis of national seed systems in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina

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One of the challenges of Initiative 20x20 is to scale up current restoration activities in order to be able to meet the targets pledged by individual countries. For this goal to be achieved there is a need to strengthen seed and plant supply systems at the national, regional and local level to ensure that appropriate material of a diverse range of suitable species, adapted both to local conditions, and capable of persisting over generations under a changing climate, is available for each restoration project being carried out. This report presents a baseline of the national seed supply systems in 7 Latin American countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina, drawing on knowledge from members of LAFORGEN, the Latin American Network of Forest Genetic Resources, as well as other experts. This was collected structured interviews and a webinar, supplemented with published and unpublished information. The resulting baselines were qualitatively assessed against a set of indicators for a fit-for purpose seed system in order to identify gaps in current systems and set priorities for action. The country analyses show that while all countries have at least some aspects of the fit-for-purpose seed system in place, there are two fundamental gaps common to all–a low native species diversity is available and used in restoration projects, and there is little consideration of the genetic origin and diversity of seeds used. These need to be addressed so that restoration actions carried out now are able to provide ecosystem services into the future by using suitable species and genetic diversity that can cope with and adapt to predicted future climate. An additional overarching challenge for scaling up the production and supply of native species is the need to link baseline knowledge on native tree species biodiversity, ecology and community uses that often rests with local communities, NGOs, academic institutions and the government environment divisions, with the technical expertise of large-scale production and common to commercial forestry. The supply of appropriate planting material is the backbone of Initiative 20x20 and needs to be planned in advance as tree seed is not always available. An increase in demand for native species for restoration is likely to happen as countries begin to realize their pledges to restore degraded land and it is important that country systems can respond rapidly and effectively to this.
Authors: Atkinson, R.; Thomas. E.; Cornelius, J.; Zamora, R.; Chuaire, M.F.
Subjects: ecological restoration, seeds
Publication type: Publication, Report
Year: 2018

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