Selection & Increase
Plant populations possessing the traits best suited to widespread restoration needs are selected for increase and advanced evaluations. Advanced evaluations consist of field trial plantings, seed production assessments, and geographic adaptation testing. Populations that perform well in these experiments and are seen as important for habitat restoration are then grown in large scale seed increases.
The decision to release a species and the type of release are carefully evaluated on a case by case basis. For species with complimentary breeding systems, multi-population blends are desired. This ensures that the resulting seed products will perform well in a number of soils and ecoregions, and have large regions of potential use and demand. In other cases, single populations may be released for specific uses, or separate ecoregion specific blends for genetically diverse species may be considered, if commercial demand can support more than one source of the species.
Once the release type and makeup are determined, aggressive seed production efforts are undertaken in order to produce enough seed for commercial producers to plant to establish commercial scale fields.