News & Events

Native Grasses Seminar

Posted on: 13 February 2023

SEA Landcare is proud to be hosting an exciting seminar on Native Grass Rehabilitation with Dr. Ian Chivers. Dr Chivers has been involved in research and native grass management for over 20 years.

Australian native grasses are adapted to soils that have been subject to millions of years of weathering and erosion and so are able to grow on soils that are more like subsoils in other parts of the world. Soil depths of 50 to 100 mm (2 to 4 inches) are quite common across the grasslands of Australia and our native grasses have adapted to grow where soil depth is shallow.

Australia regularly suffers from severe droughts and low rainfall. Australian native grasses are well adapted to this and are usually the first grasses to recover after a drought. They have a variety of mechanisms for drought avoidance, either through entering a prolonged dormancy, or through having a below-ground crown which is capable of surviving drought and grazing. In pastures, native grasses have a far greater capacity to tolerate drought without the need to re-sow the pasture following the breaking of the drought. In horticulture, supplementary irrigation in the space between the rows of vines or tree crops may not be needed.

Revegetation projects, for ecosystem restoration, of native trees and shrubs remain incomplete in the absence of native grass understory and the habitat and food source these provide.

Dr Ian Chivers has over 26 years’ experience in research of native grasses to improve the germination, establishment and persistence of Australian Native grasses for pastures, conservation areas and restoration of degraded sites e.g. mining. In 1988 he founded the Native Seeds Company as a consultancy and breeder/producer/supplier of native grass seed and continues to support research through collaboration with the RIRDC; the Australian Research Council; the University of Melbourne, Southern Cross University, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, Kings Park Botanic Gardens W.A and Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation.

"The purpose of this event is to increase community knowledge of native grasses and enable greater inclusion of native grasses in landscape rehabilitation and revegetation projects," Mrs Brewer, Landcare Facilitator.

Topics for the day include:

Introduction to native grasses – what are they, some common types, where are they commonly found.

Why use native grasses in rehabilitation? Role of native grasses in rehabilitation, for habitat, for insect and bird food source, for enhancement of tree and shrub establishment and growth. Role in remediation of degraded/toxic landscapes. What species have been used and why.

Current research that is occurring with native grasses in Australia. Where the native grass seed industry is heading and how to buy products.

How to sow and establish native grasses in a rehabilitation setting. How to maintain native grass stands in the absence of grazing. How to increase species that you might already have in the target landscape. The role of fire.

Limited positions for more information or to book your spot contact Kristy Brewer, facilitator@sealliance.org.au

Registrations close 5:00 pm Thursday 16th Feb,2023.

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