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Local Land Services Seed Bank stocks up

The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Seed Bank is sowing seeds of knowledge as well as seeding the expansion of native vegetation biodiversity across the region.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) has just completed its fifth year of community seed collecting workshops, funded by NSW Catchment Action, to increase community education and skills in the collection, preservation and propagation of native seeds.

Ivan Lackay, Northern Tablelands LLS Project Officer, arranged two workshops which were delivered by Fields Environmental Services and Stringybark Ecological. The sessions enabled landholders and the broader community to collect, process, store and grow the seeds endemic to their local area for use on their own properties, and for the Northern Tablelands LLS Seed Bank.

The Seed Bank was born in 2012 to supply the region with viable seed of local provenance for revegetation and restoration activities.

The workshops discussed plant and tree species, seed identification and best-practice collection techniques in the field.  The sessions assisted people to identify, clean, process and store their seed, and learn the recommended procedures for each species to plant to ensure successful germination.

“Once the participants complete the course, we can rely on them to collect and deliver quality seed within genetic guidelines and cover key principles such as plant identification, genetic diversity, and matching provenance based on environmental factors,” Ivan said.

“We’ve also been working with local nurseries to give people who are in the horticulture industry the opportunity to learn and understand the importance of using local native seed when growing plants for their customers.

“This sort of species insurance is essential to the longevity of important species on the Northern Tablelands”, Ivan said.

“We can actually purchase seed from the participants, so we’re completing a cycle. We’re training people, empowering them, and then helping them generate income.”

Dave Carr, of Stringybark Ecological, works in partnership with Northern Tablelands LLS to provide the training. A specialist in ecological restoration, farm forestry and bushland management, Dave recognises the important resource that the Northern Tablelands LLS Seed Bank provides in the region.

“We have been working in partnership with Northern Tablelands LLS for the past five years.  Over that time we have recognised that there is a group of people who collect seed for their local Landcare group, or nurseries, or to supply the LLS Seed Bank. The training has been adapted specifically towards these collectors, which has resulted in better quality seed and improved revegetation,” said Dave.

“We are encouraging people to get involved to facilitate collection across the whole region.  There are approximately 8000 species in the area, making it virtually impossible for one or two people to get across all of them. A network of people ensures that our job is made more efficient, so the more the merrier,” he said.

For more information about the seed collection workshops, the Northern Tablelands LLS Seed Bank, and upcoming opportunities contact Northern Tablelands LLS Project Officer Ivan Lackay on 0455 031 598.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326