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Journal Articles Restoration Ecology Year : 2020

Unraveling the concept of local seeds in restoration ecology


Scientific works converge toward the importance of using seeds of local origin in restoration to limit biodiversity loss and increase ecosystem resilience. Efforts are made to define what should be considered as local seeds. However, the concept of local seeds remains complex to delimit both scientifically and operationally, and carries non‐neutral assumptions that impact restoration activities. This paper aims to unravel the concept by examining its construction using a social science approach crossed with ecology. The interest for the genetic origin of plant material has developed since the 1990s‐2000s, in a context of international debates on biodiversity conservation. The delimitation of the local seeds concept necessarily integrates paradoxical assumptions: one of the major ones is that the local character of a plant is relative to both the reference ecosystem and the species considered. Moreover, it also depends on the objectives of restoration, the feasibility of the chosen method for restoration and the regulations. To overcome these paradoxes, compromises and translations are made to delineate collectively and operationally what is local. By adding a cross perspective between social sciences and restoration ecology to the debate, we highlight that the constructions of the local seeds concept integrate a diversity of ecological, socio‐technical and economic assumptions that are not neutral for restoration. This perspective on the concept, its ambiguities and its contingencies leads us to to underline the importance of reflexive and integrative approaches to work at different scales on standards for the use of local seeds in restoration.
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hal-02919012 , version 1 (01-02-2024)





Alice Dupré La Tour, Julie Labatut, Thomas Spiegelberger. Unraveling the concept of local seeds in restoration ecology. Restoration Ecology, 2020, 28 (6), pp.1327-1334. ⟨10.1111/rec.13262⟩. ⟨hal-02919012⟩
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