Texas Native Seeds Programs (TNS)
Texas Native Seeds is a research and development program, augmenting and providing products to the commercial seed industry. TNS works to develop native seeds that can be produced commercially, in volumes needed by restoration professionals in order to have ecosystems level impacts on native plant and wildlife conservation. TNS is a visionary effort to do something now, while substantial native plant populations still exist and provide a reservoir for collection, evaluation, and development of tomorrow's seed sources today.
Highways, oil and gas production, wind farms, transmission lines, urbanization…the signs of progress for Texas are also the sources of decline for native plant communities in Texas. From desert grasslands of West Texas to Blackland prairies of Central Texas to brushlands of South Texas, native habitat disturbance is on the rise. Invasive exotic species such as buffelgrass and guinea grass in South Texas and Old World bluestems and bermudagrass throughout the rest of the state are invading disturbed areas of native habitat and choking out native plant communities at a startling rate.
Land management goals have undergone a dramatic shift in the last 2 decades, from a livestock production based economy on rangelands, to an economy based on recreation, conservation, and multiple uses. Today’s land management goals are complimented by native plants.
As a result, the need and desire for restoration of native plants by private landowners and government agencies has increased substantially over the past decade. A cornerstone of restoration for disturbed or displaced native habitats is cost-effective, commercially available native seed sources, available in large quantities to meet the scope of the need in our state.
These seed sources are needed for a variety of restoration and reclamation uses. Examples include:
- to prevent invasive species from dominating disturbed sites and expanding across the state.
- to mitigate the impacts of a booming oil and gas industry.
- to prevent erosion on roadsides, reduce mowing costs, and protect and compliment biodiversity of the surrounding private lands.
- to increase and improve wildlife habitat, and reverse the decline of bobwhite quail and other wildlife.
- to enhance and sustain our public and private lands for tomorrow.
Texas Native Seeds was founded by a generous research grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on September 1, 2010. Private funding sources help augment TxDOT’s contribution. Texas Natives Seeds is a collaborative project, with leadership and commitments from a variety of academic, natural resources conservation, and agency institutions.
Native habitats are a vital part of our Texas heritage, and with your help, Texas Native Seeds will insure that legacy is maintained and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.