Development of seed transfer zones


To preserve the natural genetic pattern of species and to avoid the introduction of non-adapted ecotypes during restoration, seed transfer should be spatially restricted. Instead of applying administrative borders in the absence of species-specific empirical data, biogeographical knowledge can be used as a proxy. Hungary was used as a suitable test region for this approach. The aims of the study were (1) to produce an evidence-based seed transfer zone (STZ) map applying the Multiple Potential Natural Vegetation model; (2) to assess the uncertainty of the resulting STZ map; and (3) to compare the present seed transfer regulation based on administrative regions with the evidence-based STZ map. The analysis was based on a floristic map, a vegetation map, and a landscape map of Hungary. Intersected polygons of the three maps were filled with Multiple Potential Natural Vegetation data and clustered to produce seven contiguous units that can serve as STZs. The uncertainty analyses provided a numerical comparison between the two approaches and demonstrated the inadequacy of defining administrative regions as STZs. The practical result of the study is the production of an evidence-based STZ map that could replace the administrative map currently used for regulation in Hungary. Moreover, this map helps to develop native seed propagation and to enhance ecological restoration. We conclude that field-based potential vegetation models, similar to the Multiple Potential Natural Vegetation, are suitable for STZ development in countries lacking an evidence-based system for seed transfer.

Related publications


Cavellos D., Szitár K., Halassy M., Kövendi-Jakó A., Török K. (2021): Does seed trait variability support preliminary seed transfer zones for Hungary? Applied Ecology and Environmental Research. 19(5):4129-4149.


Cevallos, D., Bede‐Fazekas, Á., Tanács, E., Szitár, K., Halassy, M., Kövendi‐Jakó, A., & Török, K. (2020): Seed transfer zones based on environmental variables better reflect variability in vegetation than administrative units: evidence from Hungary. Restoration Ecology Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 911-918.

Török K., Cavellos D., Bede-Fazekas Á. (2020): Származási régiók növényföldrajzi felülvizsgálata honos fajok magjainak restaurációs célú felhasználására. (in Hungarian) Természetvédelmi Közlemények 26, pp. 109-119, 2.