NHPR has an interesting piece today (read or listen to it here) about efforts by the New England Wildflower Society to collect seeds from local plants, in case they become endangered because, say, a huge storm destroys the coastal area where they thrive. the key, says the story, is to think like the “local food” movement.
Normally, if a big storm rolls through and washes away a bunch of habitat, you’d have to go to a catalog or a nursery to order seeds. The problem is those seeds are often from far away, and just as there’s genetic diversity between people from different parts of the world, plants best adapted to survive in a certain place tend to be from that place.
So how local is local enough? Turns out, very local. For this project, they’re trying to collect their target plants from within 12 miles of the places they will be replanted.