Seed Production Areas for Ecological Restoration

The purpose of a biodiversity-based seed production area (SPA) is to reliably provide larger quantities of high quality seed of known origin, quality and appropriate genetic diversity for replanting or direct seeding onto restoration and rehabilitation sites.

ACT Greening Australia seed production areaRestoration and rehabilitation sites can themselves be managed as SPAs but are less predictable than if they are intensively managed seed crops.

SPAs are usually combined with seed banks to accumulate seed for revegetation works.


SPAs can:

  • Increase reliability of supply and enable seed bank stockpiling (including of seed of species that are rare or difficult to collect in wild).
  • Reduce harvesting pressure from wild populations.
  • Reduce collecting costs.
  • Increase genetic diversity.
  • Enable development of integrated direct seeding restoration programs.

windmill and plume grassSPAs require:

  • Secure land tenure and significant investment in infrastructure, machinery and labour.
  • Fencing, weed and pest control, regular pruning and replacement of dead or unproductive plants.
  • Rigorous attention to genetic sourcing and avoidance of inbreeding over time.
  • The development of a ten year plan to ensure SPA continues to produce seed taking into consideration species longevity and number of provenances available at the time of establishment (you may want to increase number of provenances at a later date).
  • Replacement of aging plants when their production drops off.

SPA Standards:

When establishing a SPA it is important to adhere to the following guidelines to increase genetic diversity, vigour and health to provide viable, resilient seed for restoration works.

  • Keep meticulous records of species, provenances and dates planted.
  • Track plant survival to ensure that mature SPAs are representative of the initial material planted.
  • Label rows to identify provenances / populations - regularly check and replace labels as required.
  • Include a minimum of 4 provenances / populations (more if available) for each species.
  • Plant only the most healthy and vigorous seedlings.
  • Design the site to ensure maximum production.
  • Ensure the SPA is planted at a site where pollinators are available.

See Florabank guidelines, 2016 update.

Producing high quality seed for Silver Banksia. Silver Banksia once covered large tracts of land across southern Australia but in many regions it now exists as small populations or isolated trees, making it difficult to source high quality seed to restore this important species.

Developing seed production areas for native plants: Corangamite Region guidelines: Corangamite seed supply & revegetation project
External Link Author: Heyes, S., Butler, M., Gartlan, C. & Ovington, A.

Greening Australia Capital Region has produced two guidelines for Seed Production areas:
Sex in SPAs: Genetic Issues in Seed Production Areas (SPAs), and
Introducing Seed Production Areas: An Answer to Native Seed Shortages.
Access these reports at:

N. S. G. Williams, A. Marshall, J. Morgan. (2015) Sourcing seed for grassland restoration. John Delpratt and Paul Gibson-Roy in Land of Sweeping Plains: Managing and Restoring the Native Grasslands of south-eastern Australia. Editors: CSIRO publishing.

Photo: Tim Berryman with thresher.