Ecosystem restoration with local or broad seed provenancing: our new perspectives paper in Biological Conservation


Our new perspectives paper, about the challenges related to seed provenancing in restoration has been recently published in Biological Conservation.

The paper is open access and freely available on the Journal's homepage (please click here).

The citation of the paper:

Török, Katalin, Valkó, Orsolya, Deák, Balázs (2024): Ecosystem restoration with local or broad seed provenancing: Debates and perceptions in science and practice. Biological Conservation 293: 110535.

In this perspectives article, first we describe the debate on local versus broad provenancing and the benefits and challenges related to the approaches. For this we provided an overview on the current state of the art discussing the pros and cons about local and broad scale provenancing. In order to provide a deeper insight, we compiled a stakeholder survey involving restoration and conservation experts, and practitioners related to this issue. We aimed to highlight the synergies and potential conflicts between practice and research in order to enhance future discussions and by that fine-tuning provenancing frameworks. Finally, we merged the knowledge gained from the literature with that of the stakeholder survey and proposed a simple decision support framework on provenancing in restoration. The framework considers the critical intersections of assessments and decisions, the importance of science and practice at different stages, and includes the role of stakeholders in the process.


The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration gives new momentum to restoration projects worldwide, which often involve the introduction of plant species. Research evidence shows that restoration success can depend on the seed source. However, there are still debates about the pros and cons of local vs. broad provenancing in restoration. Despite a general agreement on the need for seed transfer regulation, the debate on provenancing challenges or delays the implementation of restoration. In this perspective article, we highlighted this debate that often creates a bottleneck and also examined this issue by surveying the opinion of Hungarian restoration ecologist researchers, conservation practitioners working in restoration, and other conservation experts on the perception of local vs. broad provenancing and the prioritization of further research versus immediate action. Researchers and practitioners had markedly different attitudes; defining aims and prioritization, using genetic knowledge, and species focus were most important to researchers, while broad provenancing, feasibility, and rapid action were prioritized by practitioners. Comparison of the views of the stakeholders and linking this to a decision framework is a novelty of the study, a step necessary to understand the perception of each other to cooperate for a successful restoration. The results reflect reactive vs. proactive antagonism that should be discussed to identify which approach can be beneficial for restoration and feasible on the given scale. What is needed is to dive into restoration implementation, jointly find bottlenecks, such as seed sourcing, and solve the problems by using the best available knowledge and necessary compromises.