Photo: Anna White

Working with Nature

Eco-sourcing can be defined as: “Propagation of native plants from a representative sample of the local wild population, and the planting of them back within the same region.”

Why ecosource?

Ecosourcing is often used in restoration projects because locally sourced plants are thought to be more likely to survive than those from further away. This is because species are often better adapted to local conditions. 

Advances in plant science sometimes leads to a common species being split into several new species. If ecosourcing principles are not followed then natural plant distributions and gene pools are mixed together. Kanuka, for example, was recently identified into at least 8 species. These different species of kanuka, whose distribution was such that they never grew together, may now have been mixed up. This ‘genetic pollution’ can lead to hybridism and ultimately the loss of species. This is where eco-sourcing has become especially important because, not only is the natural range of each species different, but species vary genetically throughout their range.

Biodiversity is important

Variety in living things is what we call biodiversity. It is the basis of resilience in natural systems which has built up over millenia, and it is being reduced drastically through all kinds of human activity - sometimes in the space of a few days or even hours. 

Eco-sourcing is not about re-creating a frozen portion of time like a snapshot of natural history. It’s an attempt to protect biodiversity and kick start natural processes such as natural selection, seed dispersal, succession, etc. It’s about moving forward, using the past as a healthy reference point to get started. As nature intended.

It is our intention to eco-source from healthy, naturally-occurring Awhitu plant stocks for the nursery wherever possible.