Chris at woodlands.co.uk tells us about ‘soil seed banks’. Growers and farmers know very well how seeds can live in soil, ready to germinate when conditions change. This can be wonderful, terrible or both.
Chris’s article stirs an old seedbank of memories from my time as an environmental consultant in the early 1990s. One of my projects was to advise on habitat recreation on a site in upland England where open-cast mining was about to start. Soil from the bog ecosystem on that site was to be stored in heaps for 15 years. Then when the mining was over, the soil was to be spread and somehow the same plant species were to reappear. Including the sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum spp.) so typical of those glorious places. My true response would have been, ‘You must be kidding!’ but I wasn’t allowed to write that.
I hope the ecologists of today can advise better strategies than I could. I hope they can draw on the Millenium Seed Bank.