Matching seed to site

A novel method for generating species-specific seed transfer guidelines

Data resources used via GBIF : 82,920 species occurrences
Achnatherum hymenoides
Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides) by hummer56 via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

When land management agencies select plants to use in restoration, the first choice is often locally sourced native plants. However, propagules from such species may not be available, and commercial availability could end up being the deciding factor.

In this study, researchers use species distribution models (SDM) based on GBIF-mediated occurrences for charateristic grass and forb species of the cool deserts of the Colorado Plateau to demonstrate the utility of a climate similarity index developed to rank sites for collecting seeds to be transferred to a location being restored.

While the index is able to predict the relative performance of available accessions at the target location, it can also be used to guide seed-banking efforts. Adoption of the described methods is likely to increase efficiency and restoration success, and inform collection efforts for mitigating disturbances, such as climate change.


Doherty KD, Butterfield BJ and Wood TE (2017) Matching seed to site by climate similarity: Techniques to prioritize plant materials development and use in restoration. Ecological Applications. Wiley-Blackwell 27(3): 1010–1023. Available at: