News & Events

From little things, big things grow

Posted on: 3 May 2022

Over the next 12 months Southwest Environment Alliance will be facilitating access to a short course that has been designed to close the gap between the volunteers and the plants that they need to support local projects and landholders, including farmers to install vegetation on their properties.

Over the next two years SEA is partnering with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA to deliver an exciting new pilot project that will increase the skill base of the Landcare community and top up our local plant nursery SeaWinds Nursery with a greater diversity of local seed for projects.

The short course includes a series of bush regeneration training workshops that have been developed by South West TAFE in collaboration with Southwest Environmental Alliance Landcare Facilitator, Kristy Brewer. The successful completion of this project will be assessed by the confidence and skills of participants to collect and propagate seeds from a variety of native plants of local provenance. If success is demonstrated, the training will be made available to other Landcare groups in the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment.

The program will be delivered by South West TAFE, by a highly experience trainer David Smurthwaite. David has with many years of experience in the identification, propagation and establishment of native flora species unique to the South West region. David brings to the workshops an intimate knowledge of plants and animal species that are indigenous to our local region.

Access to locally grown plants for biodiversity corridor work is essential for Landcare programs. This challenge has been exacerbated by the recent pandemic. Access to locally grown plants is limited and this course aims to close the gap between the communities thirst for local plants and plant shortages.

Our community’s interest in creating sustainable biodiverse landscapes has increased. People’s awareness of the problems facing our planet including the problems surrounding temperature increase has been highlighted throughout the pandemic. Increased temperatures will impact wildlife and livestock stock health. People are feeling motivated to act, which is great news!

There are many ways that individuals can help to mitigate some of the effects of climate change. One of the easiest ways to support wildlife as we transition into a less balanced set of seasons is to increase the amount of shade and shelter that your property can offer.

This can be achieved easily though native shelter belts. Whether they are planted for wildlife or stock really doesn’t matter, the outcome is the same; biodiversity increases!

Shelterbelts are strips of native vegetation that help to reduce wind speed and provide shade and protection for livestock. These areas are valuable habitat for wildlife. Native shelter belts increase opportunities for wildlife to move through their environment freely and more safely. Linking up patches of bush through native shelter belts is just one way landholders can support wildlife and livestock, store carbon on their farm and create a healthy living landscape for future generations to thrive in.

There is much evidence available to demonstrate that shelter belts definitely increase farm productivity. For more information on the value of shelter belters check out the EBONS brochures  @ www.sealliance.org.au/resources

When we design native shelter belts we use species that are labeled endemic, this means that they are the plants that are local to that location. Not local to that state or country. For example we don’t plant River Red Gums in Portland because they are not local to our waterways. We don’t plant Cootamundra wattle either because they are not a local species. It doesn’t mean that you cannot plant them in your garden; it just means we don’t plant them when we plan and plant large scale projects that is designed to increase farm productivity and habitat for wildlife. However if you live near a state forest or a National Park it would not be the best species to plant.

Instead we plant the species that are best suited to your location, soil type and incorporate any remaining paddock trees or other remnants that you may have on the property. We always aim to link shelterbelts to other patches of remnant vegetation and ensure careful consideration is given to understory species that will thrive in your location. Under storey vegetation is the key to reducing wind speed and preventing pest native birds from dominating your property.

Wider shelterbelt provide greater benefits: greater wind control, increased soil fertility, increased shade and shelter, increased biodiversity including beneficial insects.

This program is being funded through the Southwest Environment Alliance, the National Landcare Program and the Glenelg Hopkins CMA.

For more information about native shelter belts, suitable plants for your property and landcare you can contact Kristy Brewer on 0413 718 875 or facilitator@sealliance.org.au

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