The Far South Coast Landcare Community Seedbank have expanded their output and are ready to support critical disaster recovery projects thanks to the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.
Spearheaded by Far South Coast Landcare Association (FSCLA), the Ramping up the Seedbank project successfully boosted the seedbank’s capacity through an intensified period of seed collection, processing and storage, ensuring it could meet the increased demand for local provenance seed and support biodiversity conservation in the region.
“We’ve run the seedbank for 22 years and it really is an invaluable community resource for helping landscapes recover with locally-adapted species, giving them the best chance of survival as they grow,” said Jean Bentley, FSCLA Programs Manager.
“Following the Black Summer bushfires we were inundated with requests for seed and we knew we needed to find a way to rise to the challenge.”
“Thanks to the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program we were able to hire a new seedbank project officer and train up members of four different local Landcare groups in native plant identification and native seed collection and processing. Not only have they been able to take these newly learned skills back to their groups, they are now able to now look out for and collect native seed that can be grown and used in their own projects,” said Ms Bentley.
But the project hasn’t always been smooth sailing- like many landcare projects in the area, periods of intense rainfall resulted in unexpected hurdles that FSCLA and their partners worked together to overcome.
“Our biggest challenges in seed collection this last year have been the environmental conditions. We went from many years of severe drought into an overabundance of rain and the trees didn’t respond well to that,” said Merryn Carey, FSCLA Seedbank Co-ordinator.
“Feeder roots shrivel up and die due to years of drought and bushfires, and then they get hammered with too much rain and start ‘drowning’. We thought the trees were recovering well but then we noticed they were dropping their leaves and dropping their seed crops over all those wet months. This project has been an absolute rollercoaster ride,” said Ms Carey.
Despite the substantial challenges, a record amount of seed was collected over the early summer period, with the project successfully engaging the local community in understanding local native plants, propagation and seed collection. Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin said he couldn’t be more impressed with the results.
“The Ramping up the Seed Bank project is a great example of how investing in community projects can support quick and effective action,” said Mr Guerin.
“Projects such as this are crucial in developing sustainable recovery for the environment and the community. They really reflect what a recent study by the University of Melbourne has suggested: landcare-led projects support fire affected communities to build resilience and stronger connections.”
“The fantastic accomplishments of this seed bank project and the wider Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program have highlighted the value of local environmental protection projects in supporting the recovery of bushfire-affected communities and environments. The success of this landcare-led model shows our movement is well placed to be on the front lines when tackling future natural disasters,” said Mr Guerin.
About the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program
The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program is a $14 million program funding community-driven projects across bushfire affected areas of Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia. Together the 111 projects funded by the Program benefitted over 100 federal and state listed threatened species and ecological communities, including 16 mammal species, 16 bird species, 9 frog species, 34 plant species and 16 threatened vegetation communities.
Supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat, the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program is managed by a partnership between the National Landcare Network, Landcare Australia and the Peak Landcare State and Territory Landcare organisations.
For further information, visit the Program Website: https://landcareledbushfiregrants.org.au/
MEDIA CONTACT: Rosie Rayns, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0401 991 792
Further project information:
Far South Coast Landcare Association (FSCLA) received over $18,300 in funding from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program to increase the capacity of the Far South Coast Landcare Community Seedbank with the support of Panboola Wetland Volunteers, Bega Valley Shire Council, Barrabaroo Landcare, Black Duck Foods, South East Local Land Service, Tura Mirador Landcare, Towamba Valley Landcare, Merimbula Lake Landcare and Bega Valley Seed Savers.
This project has expanded FSCLA’s ability to collect, store and distribute local provenance seed for use in rehabilitation and recovery planting, with seed specifically being provided for projects to augment and enhance key koala habitat in the region. Given the long storage life of many species of seeds collected the project will continue to bring benefits and meet the needs of future local revegetation projects.
The complete project collected 107 species of native seed, supported 3 events and engaged 24 volunteers over 65 volunteer hours.