The ANPC is proud to be part of an alliance of 21 leading Australian environmental organisations
calling for a national plan for ecosystem restoration to guide and accelerate action to
reverse environmental degradation, curb biodiversity loss, and mitigate the impacts of
The Restoration Decade Alliance has issued a Statement off the back of the 10th World
Conference on Ecological Restoration (SER2023) held in Darwin on 26-30 September as
part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
“Despite ongoing efforts, our ecosystems are continuing to deteriorate, and biodiversity
is disappearing at an unprecedented rate in Australia and worldwide. We need to
urgently accelerate and amplify our collective efforts to reverse ecosystem degradation
and decline at the vast scale needed for nature and people,” says Dr Tein McDonald,
Convener of the Restoration Decade Alliance.
Roughly half of Australia’s gross domestic product is dependent on nature, and
ecosystem degradation has been shown to have direct and significant impacts on
human health and social and cultural wellbeing.
“The Restoration Decade Alliance was formed to help meet these challenges, but we
cannot do it alone. To date, restoration efforts in Australia have typically been
short-term, disconnected, and relatively small-scale. This is inadequate to address the
scale of the challenges we now face, but it’s not too late to turn things around,” says Dr
“The UN Decade calls on all levels of society and sectors – government, industry, First
Nations Australians, and local communities – to work together to restore our
ecosystems. We encourage the government to take the lead by developing an ambitious
National Restoration Plan that serves as a clear roadmap for effective restoration and
unites and empowers the whole-of-community.”
The RDA understands that genuine, early, and continuous involvement of First Nations
Australians is fundamental to the success of the development and implementation of
this restoration plan for Australia.
Professor Brendan Mackey from Griffith University says that restoration is also vital for
helping Australia to meet its commitments to the Global Biodiversity Framework, UN
Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement.
“We have a huge opportunity during the UN Decade to not just restore our ecosystems,
but to reduce and remove the threats that continue to degrade them – such as feral
animals, weeds, and unsustainable land and water management. We already have the
science and on-ground experience, traditional knowledge, tools, and community needed
in Australia to restore our ecosystems and maintain the essential functions they
perform, such as carbon removal and storage, pollination, water filtration, and habitats
for native wildlife. What we need now is substantial additional resourcing and a plan
that draws all of those different components and people together to translate that into
widespread action that fixes the problems faster than we are creating them.”
The restoration plan is required to provide a framework to guide ecosystem restoration
in Australia across government, non-government, industry, First Nations communities,
and local communities to ensure all investments are optimised to directly support
Australia’s national commitments and drive nature-positive outcomes.
“People in communities across Australia have a high willingness to take action on the
ground. What these communities need is a supportive framework, greater investment,
and attractive incentives to scale up their efforts. Alongside this, we need to do better at
communicating the benefits of reviving culture and restoring biodiversity, celebrating the
wins so that people are motivated by a message of hope,” said Dr Kristin den Exter,
Partnerships Manager of the National Landcare Network. “We have a chance to secure
a sustained stewardship of Australian ecosystems and leave a legacy that lasts beyond
this UN Decade.”
The Restoration Decade Alliance is also recommending that any government advisory
panel tasked with identifying restoration targets and priorities includes independent
ecosystem restoration experts. This Advisory Panel should include independent
ecosystem restoration experts with long and successful experience in the restoration
sector to optimise potential for successful outcomes that align with Australia’s national
and global environmental and climate commitments.
The full conference Statement can be viewed at the following link and a Discussion
Paper will be released in the near future.
Text and image source: Restoration Decade Alliance
Previously recorded throughout much of the Mallee region of western Victoria, the Mallee Phebalium, Phebalium glandulosum subsp. macrocalyx is now restricted to a few small populations south west of Swan Hill in north-western Victoria. There may be as few as 50 plants left in the wild in Victoria, and as such it is listed as Critically Endangered in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. The Mallee Phebalium is one of 24 threatened species that scientists and horticulture staff at the RBGV are working to protect as part of the Preventing the extinction of Victoria’s threatened flora project.
This small to medium shrub has small bright yellow flowers and prominently glandular leaves that are aromatic when crushed. Many species of Phebalium are grown as garden plants, however cultivation is generally by cuttings, as seeds are very difficult to germinate due to physical or chemical dormancy mechanisms. We currently do not know how to germinate the Mallee Phebalium, so part of the work by the RBGV will be collecting seeds and running germination trials to try to figure out how to make them grow. Seeds will then be placed in long-term storage in the Victorian Conservation Seedbank and plants grown in a living collection at the RGBV to insure against loss of this species in the wild.
This research is funded by DEECA Victoria’s Nature Fund. The ‘Preventing the extinction of Victoria’s threatened flora’ project is led by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in partnership with La Trobe University, Australian Network for Plant Conservation, DEECA, Trust for Nature, ENVITE, Bairnsdale & District Field Naturalists Club, Friends of the Grampians Gariwerd, Wimmera CMA, Nillumbik Shire, Halls Gap Botanic Gardens and the Australasian Native Orchid Society Victorian Branch.
Article Image: Mallee Phebalium (Phebalium glandulosum subsp. macrocalyx) – Photo credit: Andre Messina
Conservation seedbanks maintain collections of many seed-bearing plant species, providing propagation material and data to support management of wild populations. But some plant species produce seeds that are difficult to collect, dry, store and utilise; collectively recognised as ‘exceptional’ species.
In this paper recently published by ANPC, Australian Seed Bank Partnership, and their collaborators in the journal Plants, People, Planet, we test a framework for identifying exceptional species within the Australian flora.
Our expert working group document examples and case studies for each ‘Exceptionality Factor’. We also want to make it easier for conservation practitioners to recognise exceptional species and work around the challenges they present, so the paper includes a workflow that may be used to identify additional exceptional species, and direct efforts to establish appropriate collection types.
Read the paper here: Ex situ germplasm collections of exceptional species are a vital part of the conservation of Australia’s national plant treasures
This work was co-authored by researchers from The Botanic Gardens of Sydney, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, the Western Australia Seed Centre, WA Parks and Wildlife Service, CSIRO, The University of WA, Alcoa Australia, and the Australian Academy of Science.
Recordings are now available for the ‘FLORA AFTER FIRE – winners, losers and lessons‘ online symposium held on Wednesday 16 August in collaboration with the Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW. Watch the presentations on Youtube HERE
The presentations cover the following three themes, with a special emphasis on Black Summer impacts and recovery
– plant and fire relationships
– impacts and observations (case studies)
– lessons and actions moving forward
A behind the scenes look at the small conservation collection of Acacia phasmoides (Phantom wattle), which has just started flowering in the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) nursery. The Phantom wattle only occurs on Pine Mountain, in northeast Victoria, and Woomargama in NSW. This species is federally listed as Vulnerable and is at risk of local extinction due to unpredictable natural threats, including severe floods or fire.
RBGV conservation geneticists are analysing genetic data to guide ex situ conservation of the Phantom wattle, which will include collections for the Victorian Conservation Seedbank and propagation of additional plants to build the conservation collection.
Holding seed and plants ex situ acts as insurance against the loss of wild populations and forms part of the Preventing the extinction of Victoria’s threatened flora project. RBGV botanists will be joined by members of the local community when undertaking surveys and collecting the plants.
This research is funded by DEECA’s Victoria’s Nature Fund. The ‘Preventing the extinction of Victoria’s threatened flora’ project is led by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in partnership with La Trobe University, Australian Network for Plant Conservation, DEECA, Trust for Nature, ENVITE, Bairnsdale & District Field Naturalists Club, Friends of the Grampians Gariwerd, Wimmera CMA, Nillumbik Shire, Halls Gap Botanic Gardens and the Australasian Native Orchid Society Victorian Branch
Image: Acacia phasmoides growing in the RBGV nursery. (Laura Simmons)
In collaboration with the Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW, the ANPC held ‘FLORA AFTER FIRE – winners, losers and lessons‘ via Zoom webinar on Wednesday 16 August 2023.
This free online symposium was focused on the post-fire recovery of native vegetation.
A range of speakers covered three themes:
1/ plant and fire relationships
2/ impacts and observations (case studies)
3/ lessons and actions moving forward
Download the program here.
Speakers from across Australia discussed plant and fire impacts, with special emphasis on Black Summer impacts and recovery. Topics and speakers included:
- Post-fire epiphytic orchid surveys – Prof Jeremy Bruhl and Dr Heidi Zimmer
- Rainforests in SE NSW and the Western Dorrigo – Mark Graham
- Plant disease after fire – Bundjalung Country – Dr Geoff Pegg
- Kangaroo Island seed production area for restoration – Dr Jenny Guerin
- Improving the evidence base to support decision-making – Dr Libby Rumpff
- Planning for post fire restoration and reintroductions – Dr Melinda Pickup and Dr Tein McDonald
- Threat assessments and revised threatened species listings – Prof Tony Auld and Tom Le Breton
- Planned Actions of the NSW Bushfire and Natural Hazards Research Centre Environment Node – Assoc. Prof. Rachel Gallagher
Recordings of the presentations will be available soon!