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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

30 March 1999

WA NATIVE SEEDBANKS BLOSSOM


The South-west region of Western Australia has received a $60,000 cash injection, from the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust, to help boost efforts to collect local seed to replant and protect native vegetation.

Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, today announced the grant for the development of a regional network of seedbanks and seed orchards in agricultural areas.

"Collecting local native seed is a vitally important part of efforts to replant native vegetation. It has already adapted to local climatic, hydrological and soil conditions, giving it the best chance of survival once planted," Shaman Stone said.

"In Western Australia replanting native species is particularly important to help combat the effects of dry-land salinity. Thousands of hectares are at risk."

An estimated 1.6 million hectares of land has been affected by salinity in Western Australia.

The Regional Seedbank Network will be coordinated by Greening Western Australia, with a additional technical support from Kings Park and Botanic Garden, the WA Wildflower Society and the Department of Conservation and Land Management.

"Collecting native seed requires a great deal of time, effort and expertise. There is often only a very short window of opportunity to collect seed, depending on seasonal and climatic conditions, and accessing harvesting equipment in remote locations is often very difficult," Sharman Stone said.

"Volunteers are also often hard pressed to be available in the few weeks seed is ripe. That's why we are calling on schools, retired people, service clubs; anyone who can lend a hand."

"Collecting, properly storing and replanting native seed is also helping to preserve Australia's unique flora. In turn, 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."

In total, 58 seedbanks have been funded around Australia this year.

Demand for locally harvested and collected native seed has steadily increased, with local Landcare and Bushcare groups, schools, farmers and nurseries needing additional seed to deliver 'on-ground' revegetation projects funded through the Natural Heritage Trust.

74 Bushcare projects are currently underway in western Australia.

Mrs Stone said the Bushcare Program aims to reverse the long-term decline in the quality and extent of Australia's native vegetation, conserve Australia's unique plant and animal species and promote ecologically sustainable natural resource management.

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

Commonwealth of Australia