Whether you are looking for plants or seeds to grow on your own, where possible we recommend that you eco-source. This means purchasing or using plants or seeds from areas in the general locality where you intend planting. The theory is that the plants occurring naturally in the local area may be better suited to local conditions and therefore may be more likely to thrive and produce optimal results for your restoration project. Specimens that have been planted from outside of the provenance could lose important localised adaptations in the future generations of your restoration project specimens.
Contact your local council or DOC office to find out which nurseries source and supply ecosourced plants. If a local authority cannot help please send a query via the 'contact us' link to Nature Space.
In some areas finding a remnant of suitable bush for eco-sourcing can be difficult, especially if a district's land area has been heavily modified. While eco-sourcing is a great ideal, it is not always practical for certain individuals, groups or situations. Don’t be put off or have your project un-duly delayed though, as it is not uncommon to do the next best thing - to focus on using only those species known to grow locally to the site with less strict adherence to local provenances.
Suitable places for eco-sourcing seed are often on private farm land, local council reserves and road reserves or Department of Conservation land. It's important to ask for the landowner's permission before collecting seeds. We recommend that you approach your local council for advice on sourcing seeds and plants. A permit is required from the Department of Conservation before collecting from conservation land, and to collect from land that is held under a covenant, covenant owners should contact their local QEII National Trust representative.
Once you have obtained permission to collect the seeds, there are some guidelines that we recommend you follow so that your collection is credible, sustainable and able to thrive!
- Collect seeds rather that trying to grow specimens from cuttings. Growing a cutting is essentially growing a clone, which is not recommended as it does not promote natural genetic diversity between individual plants. With propogation from seed there is greater potential that the new specimens grown will be the product of two individuals and will have all their localised traits.
- Use fresh seeds every year.
- Try to collect a small number of seeds from a wide range of individuals in an area rather than lots of seed from a few individual plants, unless there are too few specimens to collect from. This will increase the genetic variability of your specimens into the future.
Eco-sourcing is a way to improve the quality and quantity of native populations and protect the distinct nature of plants and ecosystems around New Zealand. Through eco-sourcing you are also helping to improve the habitats of native wildlife, which feed from the native trees, bushes and grass!
National eco-sourcing resources:
- Eco-sourcing, NZ Plant Conservation Network
- Eco-sourcing, Department of Conservation
- Protecting and restoring our natural heritage- a practical guide, Department of Conservation