Submitted to: Ecological Restoration
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2008
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Plant breeders have been trained according to rules formulated for introduced crop species. While this approach has worked well for these species, the developer of native plant materials may find that many of these rules are dismissed by a large segment of the customer base. These customers are interested in the evolutionary implications as well as the ecological adaptation of the plant material they use. By studying the distribution of genetic variation over geographic space (phylogeography) and using GIS-generated ecoregion maps that delineate ecologically meaningful geographic regions, the plant breeder may design breeding populations for the development of restoration plant materials. These will be more palatable to restoration ecologists and more likely to be used by restoration practitioners.
Technical Abstract: The development of native plant materials for restoration demands that close attention be paid to the expectations of the specialized customer base of restoration practitioners. Native and introduced plants are not biologically different, but they are usually very different in how they are marketed. The developer of native plant materials must recognize the diversity of the customer base and understand and follow the "rules" for each set of customers. Restoration practitioners' expectations are often built on assumptions and values reflective of the relatively new discipline of conservation biology. The plant breeder should realize that the "rules" for this field were originally developed for introduced crop species, but that the operational paradigm for native species may be quite different.