Restoring native grasslands and grassy woodlands: an Australia perspective

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Paul Gibson-Roy

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Australian grasslands and grassy woodlands are among the countries most threatened ecological communities. Both typically occur in arable landscapes where agricultural practice and modification have resulted in their degradation or destruction. Remnants mostly exist as small and fragmented populations, often with poor genetic health. In Australia restoring understory communities presents many challenges, among them, a small and under resourced seed supply sector, limited access to wild seed, unfavorable soil weed seed and nutrient conditions, and an historical bias towards low diversity woody restoration by funders which has resulted in a paucity of investment towards the capacity and technology required to restore species-rich understory communities in highly modified landscapes. This presentation will explore the issues faced regarding understory restoration in Australia. It will also highlight advances in knowledge and practice over recent decades that have provided compelling evidence that complex, species rich communities can be restored to arable landscapes, and that these can be functional and resilient over time. It will explore the issues of project scale, site preparation (i.e., treating high weed and nutrient loads), seed resources (i.e., seed production approaches), and seeding approaches (showing examples of restoration outcomes). Native grassy communities have been globally impacted by human influences, and practitioners in many countries seek to halt or reverse their loss through restoration. There are some differences but many commonalities between these floras in different countries and regions, and the experiences gained by Australian practitioners are likely to be of some value to those sharing similar goals across the globe.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program