What is eco-sourcing?

Posted on August 28, 2014

Eco-sourcing is used during restoration or replanting projects. It is simply harvesting seeds from local vegetation for the propagation of plants to be replanted in the same ecological district in the future, to help maintain and protect the biodiversity of the native vegetation in an ecological district.

The practice of eco-sourcing greatly increases the chances of native plant survival. Even plants of the same species can differ from region to region. Plants have the best chance of survival if they have been grown from seeds sourced from the ecological district, due to the fact that over millennia, these plants have adapted and survived in the unique conditions in that ecological district.

Keeping New Zealand green with eco-sourcing

At Kauri Park, helping to keep New Zealand green, maintaining our country’s bio-diversity and conserving our native vegetation, lies at the heart of everything we do.

That’s why eco-sourcing plant species is an integral part of our operation.

How does the process work at Kauri Park? We:

  • Use experienced seed collectors to identify seed sources.
  • Have a collection program designed to maximise healthy seed retrieval
  • Record collection points with GPS mapping.
  • Use specially developed horticultural-based software to identify and track seeds.
  • Store seeds in a custom-designed storage vault.
  • Complete regular germination testing to control planting outcomes.
  • Track the plants in the nursery from the original eco source of the seed.

Kauri Park is always interested in hearing from anyone interested in supplying seeds to KPN, that have been collected from an ecological district.

Bank on our green future with native seeds

Would you like to become a seed collector to help maintain New Zealand’s extraordinary biodiversity?

The New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank (NZIFSB) is a new conservation strategy designed to help conserve our native flora species.

The Organisation

The New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank (NZIFSB) is an organisation that includes the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN) and the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew. It was initially set up with funding from MWH New Zealand Limited (an employee-owned engineering company), and a  New Zealand Seed Bank group comprising the NZPCN, AgResearch, the Department of ConservationLandcare Research and Massey University. Each organisation brings skills and facilities to support the collection, study and conservation of seeds. Awards from the Strategic Innovation Fund (Massey University) and the New Zealand World War One, Heritage and Environment Fund of the Lotteries Commission have provided funding for staff and equipment to progress the project.

The aim of the NZIFSB is to collect the seeds of New Zealand flora as part of an ex-situ conservation strategy to conserve the biodiversity within New Zealand’s indigenous flora. Seed once banked will remain viable in the bank for decades if not longer. As with any bank, withdrawals are possible but only for a limited range of purposes, such as for reintroduction of species where populations have been lost in the wild and, more rarely, for research projects that will help with ex situ or in situ conservation of the species. Seed may also be used for multiplication to replenish seed in the seed bank.

One of the great advantages of ex situ conservation in seed banks is it allows a wide range of species to be conserved within a relatively small area and at a reasonable cost per species. Species to be collected in this project include both threatened and common species. Threatened species clearly have a current conservation problem, but as we do not know what threats any species may face in the future, banking seed of all species is a good insurance policy.

Target species

At the present NZIFSB is collecting for four different conservation projects as follows. Each project has a set of collecting priorities and some research objectives. Further information can be obtained from the Seed Bank Coordinator.

  • Pohutukawa, Rata and Myrtaceae
  • Alpine Flora and the Forget-Me-Nots
  • Kowhai and its relatives
  • Podocarps and trees of the forest

Become a seed collector

If you would like to become a seed collector, feel free to join one of NZIFSB seed collector’s training events or expeditions. You will go to selected sites when seeds and herbarium voucher specimens are ready to be collected. The seeds will then be sent to the seed bank to be cleaned, dried and stored.

Please contact the Seed Bank Coordinator, Mrs Jessica Schnell on j.l.schnell@massey.ac.nz or (06) 356 9099 ext 83236.

Read more about our eco-sourcing process