Safeguarding Australia's Flora
Regrowth from the embers
In the wake of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, the Partnership has worked hard to support flora recovery throughout Australia. Our bushfire projects are improving our knowledge and ability to conserve native plant species from fire-affected areas.
Our focus now is on new and genetically diverse seed collections that will act as an insurance policy for Australia’s native flora. Collecting from multiple populations across a species range is the best way of capturing its genetic diversity. Securing these genetically diverse collections may help to conserve new and novel genes that could help a species survive future threats such as climate change, pests and disease.
At the same time, we are undertaking germination trials for new and existing collections of seeds from fire-affected species. These trials enable us to identify the methods that work best for encouraging seeds to grow. Knowing how to grow native plants from seeds will mean our banked collections can be used in the future for restoration and research, and help to halt species decline.
Flora surveys of fire affected areas is another focus for the Partnership, as these surveys will provide seed banks and conservation agencies with on-ground data about species recovery. Following fires it is important we know how native plants are recovering so that we can target resources to where they are needed most. We are already using this information to inform future seed collecting by identifying those species that most need our help, and prioritising their collection in the years ahead.
If conditions are favourable, the second and third years post-fire can be some of the most productive for collecting seeds. During this period we will continue with projects that focus on collecting, growing and storing seeds in seed banks. We will also use some of these seeds for restoration and research work to improve on-ground outcomes and improve our collective knowledge about Australia’s unique flora.