Environmental Restoration and Revegetation of Australian Ecosystems. Mirinda Thorpe

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1 Environmental Restoration and Revegetation of Australian Ecosystems Mirinda Thorpe

2 What is Environmental Restoration? Restoration is the process used to speed up the recovery of degraded areas and may range from the attempt to restore productivity to degraded farmlands or to re-establish a near-natural ecosystem.

3 Land degradation due to Land clearing: Erosion Reduced water quality Dry land salinity & waterway salinity Habitat loss Loss of biodiversity

4 Dry land and waterway Salinity: (

5 Environmental restoration is needed virtually everywhere humans have been active past the hunter-gatherer stage. A third of the surface of the earth is afflicted with land degradation or desertification and this affects almost a billion people. Every year 6 million additional hectares are completely lost to production according to U.N. estimates and 60% of the rangeland, 60% of rain-fed croplands and 30% of irrigated croplands are at risk. Protecting and restoring damaged lands requires an understanding of ecology, economics, psychology and culture. (

6 What is Revegetation? Revegetation is one method of Environmental Restoration, which involves the process of replanting a disturbed area in order to improve land, water and air quality and provide habitat.

7 Revegetation Techniques: There are three main techniques that are commonly used for revegetation: tubestock planting, direct seeding and natural or assisted regeneration. Direct seeding Tubestock planting Natural regeneration (+) Lower establishment costs (+) Natural look and more diversely structured (+) Establishes healthier plants (-) Long establishment times may lead to more maintenance such as weed control. (-) Ants have been known to take seed (-) Uses lots of seed (+) More reliable (+) Uniform (+) Revegetation is visible to passers by (-) Often results in unnatural looking rows (-) Higher establishment costs (+) Uses small quantities of seed (+)Plants are well-adapted to the site (+)Establishes healthiest plants (-)May have to wait for a long time for results (-)Needs an adjacent or nearby seed source (+)Lowest establishment costs (-) Long establishment times may lead to more maintenance such as weed control. (

8 Revegetation using Indigenous species: Indigenous refers to a species being established and found in a particular area naturally, without human intervention. Using indigenous species in Revegetation is important to reestablish a near-natural ecosystem.

9 Definition of local provenance: A particular area where species have reproduced over a long period of time, often resulting in genetic differentiation from populations of the same species in another area.

10 Value & Importance of local Provenance: Species of local provenance may be better adapted to the specific environmental conditions in which it is found. In revegetation, species of local provenance may result in a higher survival rate. Non-local provenance genotypes may at times out-compete those of local provenance, reducing genetic diversity within a species.

11 Zonation planting: Zonation refers to the varying zones in which different species of plants may grow. (

12 Site preparations before Revegetation: Soil: Is the soil adequate for plants to grow? Does it require added topsoil or nutrients? Weeds: Are there exotic weed species that may pose a threat to the revegetation site? Do these require control before &/or after revegetation takes place? Moisture retention: What is the climatic nature of the site? Do the plants require support during the establishment period? (For example; irrigation, mulch, biodegradable matting). Species choice: What species are growing in or near the area?

13 Waterways progress 1

14 Waterways progress 2

15 Waterways progress 3

16 After Revegetation Monitoring/Maintenance: Was it a success? What is the survival rate of the plants after a period of time? Is an infill planting required to replace loses? Are there invasive weed species that require control? Is there natural regeneration?

17 Potential Threats to Revegetation Projects: Rabbits Kangaroos/Wallabies/Wombats Birds: Cockatoo s, Wetland species Invasive weeds Prolonged or extreme wet/dry periods Low nutrient or Acid soils Saline soils or waterways

18 Threat mitigation: Tree guarding: plastic and stakes, rabbit proof guards Fencing: large areas, quadrats or individual plants High density planting Maintenance, monitoring and weed control Watering regimes during establishment period Soil treatments: added topsoil, fertilisers, lime treatment Salt tolerant species

19 Other habitat improvements: Infill planting over time Introduction of emerging logs and rocks for birdlife roosting Fitting nesting boxes for fauna breeding, various styles suited to different species Monitoring and maintenance

20 Opportunities in Revegetation: Revegetation is a growing industry with companies existing and forming that specialise in this field. Legislation plays a significant role in revegetation projects, due to mining companies and developers having a legal obligation to offset and treat storm water run off. Grants available for revegetation projects, for example Melbourne Water s Healthy Waterways.

21 We do not inherit this land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. Thankyou

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