US tree nurseries do not grow nearly enough trees to bring ambitious planting schemes to fruition, and they also lack the plant species diversity those plans require, according to research published in the journal Bioscience on Monday,
For the study, 13 scientists examined 605 plant nurseries across 20 northern states. Only 56 of them – or less than 10% – grow and sell seedlings in the volumes needed for conservation and reforestation.
The team, led by two scientists at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, also found that forest nurseries tend to maintain a limited inventory of a select few species of trees, with priority placed on trees valued for commercial timber production. As a result, nurseries suffer from an “overwhelming scarcity of seedlings” that are well-suited for climate plans, the authors write.