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1. Introduction

This protocol outlines the procedures for making seed collections for Seeds of Success, part of the national Native Plant Materials Development Program.  The purpose of the Seeds of Success program in the United States is to establish a national, high quality, accurately identified and well documented native plant species seed collection.  All seed collections made following this protocol can be used to support development of geographically appropriate native plant materials for restoration and emergency fire rehabilitation.  Each seed collection should comprise of a significant representation of the genetic variation within the sampled population.  The national collection acts as the basis for off site (ex situ) conservation and, where and when appropriate, can be used for study and multiplication in the native plant materials development program.

1a. Program History

The Bureau of Land Management and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank originally participated in the Seeds of Success (SOS) program under the terms of a cooperative agreement signed by both parties in May 2000, with a renewed agreement signed in November 2005.  In the first year of the program there were 23 different collection teams in the United States for Seeds of Success.  Since the original signing of the agreement, SOS has grown to include: Chicago Botanic Garden; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; New England Wild Flower Society; New York Department of Parks and Recreation, Greenbelt Native Plant Center; North Carolina Botanic Garden; and the Zoological Society of San Diego.  Today there are more than 65 collection teams; this group plus the cleaning, storage and funding organizations is collectively referred to as the SOS Partners.

Phase 1 of the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Project was completed in 2010, 10 years after it began.  At that point, the nature of the Seeds of Success program changed as funding from Kew was no longer distributed to U.S. partners.  Instead of making one seed collection for each of the species on the Kew list, SOS shifted its collection strategy to making multiple collections of restoration and rehabilitation species to have genetically representative seed from across their range.

In June of 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Bureau of Land Management, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, New England Wild Flower Society, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and the Zoological Society of San Diego.  The MOU ratifies Seeds of Success as a national native seed collection program in the United States coordinated by BLM.  The MOU is available on the SOS website (http://www.nps.gov/plants/sos).

1b.  Program Goals

The goal of SOS is to provide wild collected seeds to researchers for common garden studies and other native plant materials development projects within the national Native Plant Materials Development Program.  The goal of the Native Plant Materials Development Program, led by the Bureau of Land Management, is “to ensure a stable and economical supply of native plant materials for restoration and rehabilitation efforts on public lands.”  The Seeds of Success collection program is the first step in this process of developing native plant materials.

During Phase 1 of the Millennium Seed Bank Project (2001-2010), there was a goal of collecting 10% of the world’s flora.  With SOS as the U.S. partner, MSB was able to reach this goal.

Estimates have shown that between 10 and 20 collections of a single species, across its range, are needed to develop genetically appropriate ecotypes, thus this is a collection goal for each species collected by SOS.  Processing and storage partnerships have been formed to achieve the program’s goal of native plant materials development so that SOS collectors can make collections throughout the range of targeted species. 
Next: Training, Communication, and Annual Reporting
 

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http://www.nps.gov/plants/sos/protocol/1.htm
Last Updated: 15-Apr-2011