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New seedbank for the Hunter to safeguard important native species

The Hunter region is getting a dedicated seedbank, to collect and store seed from precious varieties of local trees, shrubs and grass species critical to restoring important woodlands in our region.

The seedbank is a partnership between Hunter Region Landcare Network, Muswellbrook Council, local Landcare groups and Hunter Local Land Services.

The project will help boost on ground works restoring Grassy Box Woodlands and other vegetation communities in the region.
Upper Hunter Landcare Coordinator Paul Melehan said seed will be collected to help with future revegetation and direct seeding projects.

“There are more than 2000-2500 varieties native to our region and it’s critical we do our bit to protect these valuable species,” said Mr Melehan.

“The need for a seedbank has come up in discussions seedbank for nearly 20 years, and hopefully we will eventually expand it from the Upper Hunter, right across our region.

Hunter Local Land Services and Hunter Region Landcare Network will be working with local Landcare groups, farmers and community groups to revegetate, protect and enhance remnant Grassy Box Woodland areas.

These woodlands occur in areas such as the Merriwa Plateau, and provide vital habitat for critically endangered species such as the Regent Honeyeater.

Natural Resource Management Team Leader for Hunter Local Land Services, Lyndel Wilson said a seedbank will help with local revegetation projects.

“Establishing this seedbank will ensure we can propagate ample supplies of local native trees that will help local land managers in their efforts to restore these important habitats,” said Lyndel.

“We’re working with Merriwa Landcare to commence a direct seeding project, and down the track it will be great to use locally sourced and grown plants.”

Species such as White Box, Yellow Box and Blakely’s Red Gum are some already on the priority list – but it’s not just about the trees.

“There are only a few patches of these woodlands that have not been highly modified, and we need to protect these areas and increase the diversity of native species,” said Paul Melehan.

“Really it’s the mid and under-storey, beneath the trees that is where the most species are missing - it’s the smaller trees, shrubs and grasses we really need to focus on.

“Most people are happy to plant native trees, but we want to encourage more landholders to plant native shrubs and grasses, because this is where we will boost the resilience of these woodlands.”

Trees play an important role on farms, helping to increase productivity, provide natural shade and boost biodiversity of the landscape.

This project is supported by Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.