Seedbanks in Yukon communities: developing protocols, a roadmap, and course materials

plantsSeed collection, processing and banking is an effective and economical method for conservation of plant species; however, it requires extensive planning and consideration to be effective.  It is important for seed collectors to understand the theory behind seed collection, allowing them to make ethical harvesting decisions, handle seeds properly, and store them under appropriate conditions. 

In this 2018-2019 project, Yukon College and Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation undertook the development of documents and materials to provide useful training and references for community-based seed collection, processing, and storage.  We researched and created protocols for eight community-priority species, designed a 4-day course oriented for the stewardship team and any interested community members to learn about seeds and seed banking, field collection, processing and storage, piloted the course materials in summer 2018, used seed collected during the summer in fall/winter germination trials of several species and dormancy schedules, and created a "road map" document to be used as a reference and guidance document for communities, groups, or individuals who want to develop a seed bank for native seeds.  The road map is a planning tool which guides a user through the various considerations and possibilities for creating a seed bank and allowing them to determine their own purpose, scale, resources, outcomes, governance, budget etc. 

This project was conceived as a 'first step', providing foundational understanding, planning tools, and training for communities while leaving enough open within the materials that they can be sculpted to fit different communities, regions, traditions, and end-purposes.  External users wishing to adapt the materials will be required to develop the specifics for their own programs, however the materials will provide the structure and some generic scientific content that can be then be tailored with locally-relevant details.

Project team
  • Nina Vogt, Research Assistant, YukonU Research Centre
  • Rachel Pugh, Project Coordinator, YukonU Research Centre
  • Taylor Belansky, Student Research Assistant, YukonU Research Centre
  • Terry-Lynn Lesh, Community Coordinator, YukonU Research Centre
  • Josslynn James, Stewardship Team Lead, Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation
  • Kristal Isbister, FloraTek Consulting
Partners and funders

Partner: Carcross Tagish/Management Corp.

Funder: Environment and Climate Change Canada