Opinion: Seeds as natural capital (Trends Plant Sci)($)

Plants are increasingly being recognized for their contributions to human wellbeing. However, most attention has been given to services provided by adult plants or those derived from their interaction with pollinators. In this exciting piece, Mattana and colleagues advocate for the importance of seeds and describe their natural capital value using a total economic value approach. Under this framework, seeds have value for their existence and their current and potential uses, whether material or intangible or direct or indirect. On the one hand, seeds shape the regeneration of a vast majority of plants, which impacts ecosystem resilience. Therefore, their existence is crucial for ecosystem functioning and adaptation to climate change. On the other hand, seeds have a myriad of uses: from cereals and pulses that feed millions of people worldwide to key elements of the cultural identity of communities. Moreover, they might host other uses and properties yet to be discovered. Therefore, this work highlights the relevance of seeds on the formulation of nature-based solutions to reverse the current degradation of our planet and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations. (Summary by Carlos A. Ordóñez-Parra @caordonezparra) Trends Plant Sci. 10.1016/j.tplants.2021.08.008