Native Seeds: Supplying Restoration
“Native Seeds: Supplying Restoration” is a nine-part video series that delves into the native seed supply chain in the western United States. Filmed over four seasons, the series introduces viewers to the unsung heroes of conservation: seed collectors, farmers, researchers, and land managers. These dedicated individuals are on a mission to increase the supply of native seeds, meeting the ever-growing demand for ecological restoration. As you journey with them, you’ll witness the staggering scale of damage to our landscapes and the tenacious people who are crafting creative solutions to rebuild ecosystems.
A Vision for Restoration
Nancy Shaw, U.S. Forest Service scientist emeritus and SER-INSR board member, eloquently captures the essence of this endeavor: “Plants and their seeds are chronically overlooked, yet they underpin all life. They’re essential for our survival, well-being, and inspiration.”
The inspiration for the “Native Seeds: Supplying Restoration” video series emerged as a follow-up to the International Standards for Native Seeds in Ecological Restoration, published in 2020. These scientific articles layed out a framework for the standards required to establish dependable native seed supply chains. The goal? To make these findings more accessible to the public and broaden the understanding of the crucial role native plants play in mitigating climate change effects and preserving biodiversity.
SER-INSR partnered with Holden Films, a West Coast-based production company, to breathe life into the scientific papers. McKenna Asakawa, series producer and co-director, shares her insights: “Helping create this series gave me an appreciation for how the smallest of seeds can have the mightiest impact on the world around us. I hope viewers walk away with a bit of awe—both for seeds and the people who care so much about them.”
The Growing Need for Seeds
Today, the need for native seeds has never been more pressing. With climate-related disasters increasing in intensity and frequency, land managers are facing a monumental task. They must restore lands damaged by wildfires, floods, and human development. The scale is staggering, with the United Nations estimating the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded land globally. To achieve this, we require a staggering 1.9 billion tons of seed.
Peggy Olwell, Bureau of Land Management Plant Conservation and Restoration Program Lead, emphasizes the challenge at hand: “The restoration need for locally adapted native seed is outpacing the supply that’s available for us to buy commercially.”
Challenges Along the Way
Creating a thriving seed supply chain is no small feat. Collectors must tread lightly to protect scarce wild seed populations. Farmers must master the art of mass-producing native plants, each with its unique characteristics. Managers must discover cost-effective ways to sow seeds across thousands of acres. Researchers must collaborate across the seed supply chain, applying science-based solutions to address key challenges. At stake is not only the ecological integrity of our landscapes but also our cultural connection to Indigenous land management practices and our relationship with native flora.
Join the Journey
“Native Seeds: Supplying Restoration” invites you to discover the beauty and importance of these tiny seeds that hold the potential to restore our landscapes and protect our planet. Watch the nine-part series or full-lenght feature on this page. The film is a call to action, an invitation to appreciate the power of seeds, and a reminder that we all have a role to play in nurturing our planet’s ecological well-being. Together, we can make a difference—one seed at a time.
Watch more films about Planetary Regeneration in our Streaming Collection