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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

13 April 1999

DEMAND FOR NATIVE SEED GROWS


Willing workers are desperately needed to help collect native seed for planting, Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, said today.

Mrs Stone said she was in Adelaide today to inspect the Trees for Life seedbank at the State Tree Centre and tour some of Adelaide's Natural Heritage Trust Bushcare projects.

"It is an ongoing battle to meet the demand for native seed and to ensure that we stockpile enough to plant to preserve our unique native plants for future generations," Sharman stone said.

"Collecting native seed requires critical timing, some effort and easy to acquire expertise. There is often only a very short window of opportunity to collect seed depending on seasonal and climatic conditions."

Mrs Stone said that harvesting locally grown native seed was important because it had already adapted to climatic, hydrological and soil conditions, giving it the best chance of survival once planted. As well, some species have a very narrow range of territory.

"Native plants bind the soil helping to prevent erosion, reduce rising regional water tables caused by land clearing and provide essential habitat and food for native wildlife."

Demand for native seed in the Adelaide region has grown with the creation of the South Australian Urban Forest Biodiversity Program, an integrated, citywide Bushcare program.

The program is being funded through the Federal Government's $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust in partnership with the South Australian State Government, volunteer community groups, commercial sponsors, local councils, the Aboriginal community and peak conservation groups.

This year project funding totals $850,000, with $300,000 provided by the Federal Government through the Natural Heritage Trust.

Over the life of the program an estimated $4.5 million dollars will be ploughed into strategically coordinated conservation and revegetation projects around the City.

"Organisations like Trees for Life and Greening Australia are hard pressed in keeping up with demand."

"That's why we are calling on schools, retirees, service clubs and community groups; anyone who can lend a hand," Mrs Stone said.

Mrs Stone said farmers also had the chance to cash-in on the demand for native seeds, with many commercial nurseries offering good returns for seed collection.

Volunteers who may be able to help should contact the Greening Australia or Trees for Life at the State Tree Centre on (08) 8207 8795 or visit the South Australian Urban Forest Biodiversity 'shop-front' at the State Tree Centre, Brookway Drive, Campbelltown.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415

Commonwealth of Australia