Reintroduction of species from ex situ seed bank
To support the need for large-scale restoration, large amount of seeds of native species is required. Ex situ storage of collected seeds of native plant species can provide a basis for conservation and habitat restoration.
We tested the applicability of seed accessions of the Pannon Seed Bank for reintroduction at a 11 ha abandoned field in Fülöpháza. This field was abandoned 10-15 years prior to the beginning of the experiment and now belongs to the Kiskunság National Park. Seeds of 10 native sandy grassland species were seeded in the year of collection and after one or two years of storage. The species were Centaurea arenaria, Dianthus serotinus, Echinops ruthenicus, Euphorbia seguieriana, Festuca vaginata, Gypsophila arenaria, Koeleria glauca, Onosma arenaria, Scabiosa ochroleuca, Silene borysthenica.
A low establishment of the tested species was found, ranging from 0.002 to 8%. Within this range, Dianthus serotinus had the highest establishment, while Festuca vaginata, which was sown as matrix species, performed only medium establishment. Four species were found to emerge over two years. The short-term storage (1 or 2 years) of seeds had no significant effect, except for F. vaginata, where seed storage had a positive effect on reintroduction success. The year of seeding had the highest influence on recruitment.
Based on our results, the weak seed yield of certain years and the low supply of native seeds in the market can be mitigated by using stored seeds. It is recommended to use multi-year, scheduled seeding to reduce the negative impacts of particularly dry years and to increase the restoration success.
Kövendi‐Jakó, A., Szitár, K., Halassy, M., Halász, K., Mojzes, A., & Török, K. (2021): Effect of seed storing duration and sowing year on the seedling establishment of grassland species in xeric environments. Restoration Ecology, 29: e13209.