Wooragee Landcare Group in north-east regional Victoria held a Declining Species workshop on 10 November 2019. The group is currently involved in a Banksia marginata recovery project which has involved surveying, collecting seeds, cuttings and genetic material, as well as having plants grown for Seed Production Areas on both private and public land. ANPC’s Project Manager, Martin Driver spoke about a vital aspect of working with declining species – that is ensuring sources of seed are available for revegetation. Inadequate seed supplies are one of the blockers for revegetation being carried out on a sufficient scale to prevent species decline, and for focusing on particular declining species. A few of us in Wooragee Landcare reflected on the past seed banks and seed collection which seemed more active than at present.
The field trip was to a local farm where the owners Anne and Fleur Stelling have fenced off a paddock of remnant vegetation and removed all stock. For the first few years the paddock was lightly grazed but they have found they have had better recovery when all sheep grazing was removed. Not only have shrubs recovered and regenerated but a wonderful display of herbs and forbs – Blue Pincushion (Brunonia australis), Spur Velleia (Velleia sp), Pimelea sp, orchids, chocolate lilies and many more.
Landcare groups are in a valuable position to be able to act on species decline – they are not so bound by large strategies and have more flexibility than larger organisations.
It was a very thought-provoking session with Martin and has spurred us on to continue thinking (and acting) about seed and seed supply, so we can continue to implement on-ground works to prevent species decline.
Sue Brunskill Wooragee Landcare
Wooragee Landcare and the ANPC gratefully acknowledge the Wettenhall Foundation for funding Martin’s attendance at the workshop as part of the Bring Back the Banksias project, and Dr Maurizio Rossetto from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney for genetic testing.
Oct 8, 2019, Sydney, Teacher’s Federation Auditorium
The ecological restoration industry is small but critical to the future of biodiverse native ecosystems in Australia, ecosystems that are essential to our nation’s clean water, functional soils and carbon capture and storage. Great strides have been made in developing successful methodologies for restoring complex ecosystems using a combination of assisted regeneration and reconstruction techniques.
Barriers exist, however, to the necessary expansion of the industry if it is to make a difference to biodiversity conservation. One critical barrier is the time lag required to collect and supply the seed required for restoration which is almost always longer than the short lead times for funding contracts. A second barrier is the wildly fluctuating demand for seed due to either dry years or the chance occurrence of large developments which impacts on the viability of many organisations or operators.
There is a need for more sustained drivers for the seed and restoration industry. Market demand needs to reach a larger scale to make it economically viable for suppliers to risk investment in seed collection and storage or cultivated seed production. Investment in seed production is required to reduce pressure from harvest from self-sustaining natural systems, increasing harvest volumes and efficiencies and managing genetic diversity of supply.
The primary current driver for restoration is for work required as a result of development consents (e.g., mining and urban development). More ambitious incentives for diverse ecosystem restoration for its own sake are required, as well as the necessary planning to ensure investment in appropriate physical and organisational infrastructure.
The Forum calls upon State and Federal governments to direct incentive funding to biodiversity restoration and the infrastructure required to support it, whether solely for conservation, as a co-benefit for developing more sustainable farming systems, better managed transport corridors, meeting carbon emission reductions, soil and water security or generating employment and community wellbeing.
With the increase in demand for restoration will come drivers for improvements to restoration training, native seed collection permitting and regulation, increased development of seed production farms and the establishment of standards for high quality seed supply.
As bureaucratic barriers to these improvements exist, the Forum calls upon agencies at all levels of government across Australia to work with industry and non-profit restoration organisations to streamline solutions in these areas.
You will receive the Winter 2019 edition with the theme of translocation of threatened plants, and the Spring edition which focuses on the NSW Saving our Species program. ANPC membership entitles you to discounts and benefits including: subscription to four (4) editions of Australasian Plant Conservation; discounts to ANPC workshops, conferences and forums; and discounted subscription to Ecological Management and Restoration. Complete the ANPC membership form here. Some of our high priority projects for 2020 include:
The ANPC is available to run workshops to showcase the new information in the latest Plant Translocation Guidelines. Based on the recently published 3rd edition of the ANPC’s ‘Guidelines for the Translocation of Threatened Plants in Australia’, translocation workshops provide a step by step guide on how to translocate plants. ANPC Project Manager Dr Lucy Commander, lead editor of the 3rd edition, is available to coordinate and lead Translocation Workshops anywhere in Australia. Three successful workshops have already been held in Canberra (Nov 2018), Perth (March 2019) and Adelaide (May 2019). The ANPC would welcome the opportunity to present a plant translocation workshop in your region. Registration fees depend on the amount of funding available (either from an institution or a successful grant application) to cover such expenses as catering, venue hire and ANPC staff time and travel. Please contact the ANPC’s Business Manager, Jo Lynch, for further information and request a quote, or to collaborate on a grant application. Read more.