Seedbanks

Bushfire Recovery Program

  • YEAR: 2021
  • STATE: Victoria
  • FOCUS AREAS: Growing Parks/Healing our Land/SDG 15: Life on Land/SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

Seeds are the corner stone to any revegetation project and are vitally important in bushfire restoration. The intensity of the 2019-2020 bushfires saw the destruction and loss of seeds and seed beds from our forests, creating a shortage in supply. This has greatly impacted the availability of local species for restoration works, hence why Seedbanks are the first stage of our Bushfire Recovery Program.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Major sponsor: The Australian Government

 

Project overview

Working with communities at local scale brings the greatest chance of securing those species endemic to their area, especially the rare and threatened. Not all plants grow and release seed annually, or during any particular season. Plants flower all year round and therefore seed can be produced at any time throughout the year.

Some species will only produce seed after specific occurrences such as high rainfall, and that could be once every two or three years. Limited seed availability is further exacerbated by seed that is highly predated and some species can quickly fall into physiological dormancy. In those situations, it is important to immediately sow the seed in the nursery, and consequently, why we partner seedbanks with community nurseries. Once the seed is planted it can still take one to two years for some species to mature enough to be planted out.  Being on the ground and knowing when those conditions occur, and what to look for when the plant is seeding is vital to securing these important species over the long-term.

The second advantage for bushfire recovery in training and supporting community seedbanks is that the community are mapping individual plants, along with the terrain, water sources and other key environmental data. Identifying if specific plants have been lost or impacted by fire is much faster due to this specific local knowledge. This information can be captured at a later date under the Education & Learning Project to support mapping, research, or specific species recovery and protection plans or laws.

 

LOCATION

The seedbanks are located on the lands of the Gunaikurnai people, the traditional owners of East Gippsland.

FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation the we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT

The project is ongoing.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2020.

 

PROJECT PARTNERS

East Gippsland Landcare Network is our project partner for Seedbanks.

Further information about them can be found on their website:

https://www.landcarevic.org.au/groups/eastgippsland/egln/

Project Update

The Project

FNPW is launching the Seedbank Project in partnership with the East Gippsland Landcare Network (EGLN). The project is part of FNPW’s Bushfire Recovery Program, which focuses on restoring what was lost during the 2019/2020 Bushfires. It has been funded by the Federal Government Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife Habitat & Community Grants (BRCG).

The project is providing funds to establish a central community seedbank in the East Gippsland region, which will be managed by the EGLN. The aim of the seedbank is to store seed from local rare and threatened species, which will then be available to bushfire restoration or revegetation works for the entire region. There will be a walk-in coolroom, seed cleaning machine and an igloo for drying the seed.

Why A Living Seedbank?

Living seedbanks are areas where species are planted so they are easily accessible for seed collection. The image below shows a living seedbank that has been planted in a public garden, so everyone can enjoy the plants and the local Landcare group can collect the seed when it is ready.

A walk by a living seedbank. Image provided by Trudiann Dale

Maintaining a living seedbank means seeds aren’t being collected from the wild, which protects the plants and allows them to grow undisturbed. For smaller plants, such as these beautiful wildflowers from the East Gippsland mountains, the main plants can be fenced in to protect them and make it easier to collect the seed. Not all of the seed is collected from each plant, so there is plenty to disperse allowing the natural regeneration of the plants in the area.

Wildflowers from the East Gippsland Mountains are in full bloom- just look at how beautiful they are! Image provided by Trudiann Dale

Some plants like the Buchan Blue Wattle are so rare that a special permit is needed to collect the seed in the wild. By growing and maintaining these trees in more accessible places like public gardens, we no longer need to disturb wild plant growth in the bush.

The Buchan Blue Wattle, a rare and stunning plant. Image provided by Trudiann Dale
Want to Get Involved?

Anyone interested to learn about seed collecting can join one of the native seed collection workshops being delivered by Wildseed Nursery for communities from Bairnsdale to the NSW border. Give Wildseed Nursery a call at 0419 099 925.

Related Projects

Habitat Restoration

Goal: To restore native vegetation and natural habitats, and support wildlife rehabilitation in areas impacted by bushfires

Bushfire Recovery Program

Following the catastrophic bushfires in summer 2019-2020, the Healing our land campaign was developed by FNPW to support long term bushfire recovery projects across Australia.